Lattelecom popped two new household connection packages, both of which include free calls throughout the network in Latvia providing you sign up for a DSL line for 18 months or renegotiate your old subscription on the new terms.
About three years ago, I told Lena Suhonen, then CEO of Lattelekom as it was then called, that this would happen. I wasn't blogging then, so take it on trust.
One package, which includes internet up to 2 Mbps, costs LVL 13.90, and another, with internet speeds of up to 5 Mbps, costs LVL 16.90 per month. Both include unlimited calling in Latvia.
My only confusion is about the internet speed. A Lattelcom service operator said both speeds applied to the internal network, that is, Lattelecom supported or hosted sites, such as Apollo and draugiem.lv . That means that little or nothing has changed. 2Mbps is what I get on the internal network on my HomeDSL which I have jacked up to 1 Mbps by paying and extra fee. Now, if it is 2 Mbps and 5Mbps to the "real world", you have me hooked, although I wish the fuck Lattelecom would speed up my Riga Centrs district DSL service to 10 Mbps like they have for folks living in the burbs (Swampvillage, New Village, etc, this is a joke for my Latvian readers).
Anyway, the reason all this is happening, and why Lattelecom is whipping them DSL dogs in the race, is --yes, it is a race. I think we will see fixed wireless HSDPA popping up -- Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) is already offering an "unwired" home phone, so why not add an HSDPA card to it? Bite will be first, look for some nice HSDPA & laptop packages that will offer more speed than the deals presently offered by Tele2 (GPRS in the sticks plus a laptop for LVL 35 a month? OK, 3G in most of Riga) and LMT (3G downtown, EDGE on the edge of the sticks, perhaps elsewhere, and GPRS in the middle of nowhere).
And speaking of the burbs, I may have said early that every Tom, Dick and Ivan who can tack up ethernet cable is offering 100 Mbps for LVL 4.95 per month (that is 100 Mbps to the porno movies and warez on the server in the basement, anything else is pure luck). Some serious operators had 10 Mbps before Lattelecom thought of it, and Baltcom is zapping up the speeds on its network. Can the wired part of IZZI be far behind?
With Skype and SIP services appearing everywhere, voice is a lost cause and the money will be made in whatever one can chisel out of the content zapping along the broadband connection. Now that domestic calls are free as in "paid all inclusive" I wouldn't be surprised to see Lattelecom launch a very low-cost, VOIP type international service, cutting tariffs almost to nil to, say, Sweden where it has a POP and a high speed data cable of its own.
Also look for some nice business service packages that will include pay by use business software and outsourced services on the net, plus, of course, leasing and installing the hardware. On the DSL side, rumors are moving closer to truth on a jump to 24 Mbps on some parts of the network, plus pure DSL connections (no voice phone line needed, but voice services may be included since with a NGN, you can configure the service quality to each user's needs) coming along in the next set of home packages.
Finally, the non-quote of the week about my recent post (since nobody said it) was with regard to my post on Lattelecom negotiating to buy Bite. It was wishing that I wouldn't blog about rumors that are true. Source unattributable.
I may videoblog some of this later. Wanted to do so today, but had to rush to the summer place to a) connect my kid's laptop, which buggered off (for my British readers :)) the wireless network (ethernet cable to the WiFi router solved it). Note: Packard Bell = no online manuals. b) I had to finish mowing the grass while it was still light out. After the drought and the short torrential rains over the last few days, the grass has freaked out and is growing visibly to make up for like 10 weeks of lying their lookin' like it was fixin' to die (some did).
That's all, folks!