Friday, May 18, 2007

Things to watch for while I am gone

I'm off to the US via Sweden. After stopping off in Stockholm overnight, I will be flying to Boston on May 19 and back again on May 27 (I'll be in Riga again May 29). In the meantime, there are some things to look for in Latvia. The half-mother (TeliaSonera) was due to officially respond to the management/staff buy-out proposal from Lattelecom. Unofficially, they have said OK some weeks ago. Nobody else is seriously looking to buy the half-mother's 49 %.
The only stumbling block is, to my mind, a bizarre demand by TeliaSonera that Lattelecom refrain from entering the mobile services market for two years (this, according to unofficial sources). The strange thing is, that if this is intended to protect TeliaSonera's forthcoming 100 % holding in Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT), it is aimed at the wrong threat. Tele2 and, to a lesser extent, Bite (as well as Triatel with its "out of the box" wireless services) are more of a challenge to LMT than a hypothetical and, most likely, virtual Bite-based mobile service launched by Lattelecom at some point in the future. Tele2, especially, is aggressively pursuing business customers. To ban Lattelecom from going mobile is sort of like getting a chastity pledge from wolves so that their unborn cub won't come hunting while at the same time, a crocodile (Tele2) is chewing on one of your legs. End this craziness, TeliaSonera, and let's get on with the deal...L

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