Friday, October 13, 2006

Catching up...

Well, no decision was made on Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) and, in fact, it didn't really go on the government agenda, it was sort of on again off again in again out again Finnegan (some unknown doggerel written about Finnegan's Wake, the most weirdly unreadable of Joyce's major novels). Some kind of discussion of putting off the issue until appraisals were finished did take place.
Any, that didn't change the essence of the issue -- the government will, at some point, swap its 28 % direct and indirect share in LMT for getting 100 % of Lattelecom, but leaving the fixed line operator without any mobile link.
Meanwhile, Lattelecom is looking into when and how to implement IMS (Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem), a set of network architecture standards coming from the mobile world and, indeed (I am no geek, correct me if I am wrong), making it much simpler to link/converge fixed and mobile services.
Certainly a hint that Lattelecom is going to look for a mobile solution (big surprise) once it is on its own as one of Europe's few, if not only 100 % state-owned telecom. I am not as worried about that as much as before, because the recent election here shows that for at least the 16-18 month lifespan of a typical Latvian government, telecoms policy will not be in the hands of complete loonies.
Lattelecom's chief honcho Nils Melngailis has confirmed that a strategic decision must be made about going mobile and this is up to the shareholders (the state and TeliaSonera, for the moment).
I have already written that it looks very likely that Lattelecom will make a move on the Bite Group, getting a Latvian (small and growing) and Lithuanian (big) mobile operator in one big bite (sorry :) ).
Officially, Lattelecom will never confirm this until it can confirm it (i.e. if and when the deal is done), but it is pretty obvious there are not many options. LMT is written off, Tele2 is not for sale, Triatel is...well, it's CDMA 450, and may be interesting as a wireless internet provider, especially if it can beat/match HSDPA when EV DO speeds go up to 8 Mbps.
That leaves starting a MVNO and brings us back to the mother of all MVNOs -- Bite. While not exactly chasing folks down the street with its offers, it is gathering a little flock of virtual operators in Latvia and shows no signs of stopping.

Harakiri time
Speaking of Triatel, I am hereby performing imaginary harakiri for shame at missing a major CDMA conference in Riga. Our newspaper just "relaunched" switching not only its style but also its layout software and at the same time, we are heading for a) an IT supplement, b) an IT magazine c) an TOP 500 Latvian companies magazine d) the US Secretary of Labor drops in -- and I am working on all of this shit all at once. Plus a couple of reporters are sick, away, and despite the cool new look of you-know-which Latvian newspaper, we walk the edge of bardaks every day.

The Latvian blogerati
Oh well. It must be a hereditary disease, because my oldest son is semi-dropped-out of the University of Umeå in Sweden to work as a writer-reporter on what I consider a wacko leftist Swedish political newspaper. It's his thing. But the kid writes well.
Finally, we had a round table discussion of Latvian bloggers for the IT magazine. I had some of the Latvian blogerati at it -- Arturs Mednis, Kristaps Kaupe, Ingus Sturmanis and Martins Barkans, head of the news agency and media company LETA, which may also be heading the the multi-media direction.


Anonymous said...

Chek out some more Latvian blogosphere newcomers:

Anonymous said...

Delfi writes
" Latvija kļuvusi par ceturto valsti Eiropā, kas uzsākusi "Flash OFDM" bezvadu interneta tīkla izveidi. Šo projektu īsteno VAS "Valsts informācijas tīkla aģentūra" (VITA)."

Do you have any idea when it could become public available? How it can affect telecoms in Latvia?