Monday, February 11, 2008

Rumors of LBS and an unhappy "bee"

This from the rumor circuit - Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) is getting closer to launching location-based services (LBS). At least some of them would be based on Google Maps - showing mobile phone users nearby shops, restaurants and the like.
All mobile operators in Latvia have to do some degree of locating in order to meet EU requirements for emergency calls, but LMT appears to be the first to be developing a commercial platform.  The business model is that LMT will set up the necessary IT infrastructure and then partner with location-related third-party content providers on some kind of revenue-sharing basis.
While location for emergency purposes is compulsory, any commercial LBS will be by consent, although it is likely that LMT and other operators will market these rather aggressively, stressing that one or the other has the "locally-smartest"  phone.
LBS gaming may be another feature of the LMT offering, but just what that is I am unsure :).

Bite rebrands
Meanwhile Bite presented its rebranded image -- springlike colors, a different logo (a leaf? a balloon?) minus the weird Lithuanian ė -- as well as the abolition of one-off call connection charges, so-called asterisked (*) clauses and fine print as well as charges for switching or turning on and off of certain services (incoming call numbers, etc.). All of this is based on some intensive customer surveys, focus groups, etc. and one can reasonably say it is what most or many customers want. It is something that Bite hopes will increase customer loyalty more than it will have folks stampeding from other operators.

Peeved about charges
Bite is also upset that Tele2 and LMT seem to be charging their customers more for calls to Bite numbers than for calls to each other and related pre-paid services. Bite will probably make a public issue of this, although the wholesale tariff structure (so-called termination charges which operators clear with each other) and its relationship to the tariffs customers pay is somewhat complex and non-obvious. More, perhaps, on this later.  

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