Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Latvian Railways offers WiFi on Moscow trains

Latvian Railways (Latvijas Dzelzceļš) in cooperation with the wireless telecommunications company Triatel will start offering free wireless internet access from October 1 on its daily trains from Riga to Moscow. The service will be available along the entire route from Riga to the Latvian-Russian border at Zilupe, allowing passengers to surf the internet for just over four hours. WiFi internet is not available once the train crosses into Russia. It is understood the service will also be available on Latvian-operated trains on the return leg of the trip on Latvian territory.
The internet on the train service is apparently provided through Triatel's EV-DO wireless internet network, which offers users speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps on direct connections. Evidently the WiFi on the train will re-route signals from Triatel towers and base stations along the railway right of way allocating adequate bandwidth to each train passanger using the service, rather than sharing a single 3.1 Mbps link to the whole train.
Latvian Railways will be holding a press conference on October 1 at Riga's main train station to explain details of the new service.
The internet-on-a-train is the latest project in which Triatel has teamed up with a major Latvian or international enterprise to co-sell or resell its wireless internet services. Triatel has been cooperating with Lattelecom to provide fixed wireless voice telephony and internet in remote rural locations, it has used the cable television and telecommunications services company IZZI as a reseller of its fixed wireless internet and just teamed up with the satellite TV company Viasat (part of the Swedish Modern Times Group)to offer a combined TV and internet packages (the television by satellite, the internet by EV DO) called Viasat Connect. Triatel is also behind a mobile internet service under development by Lattelecom (with USB plug modems), which are already being sold or leased to direct customers of Triatel and, apparently, as part of the ViaSat Connect package (the internet service is called " mobile").
With HSDPA networks run by the mobile operators in Latvia and offering speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and possibly 14.4 Mbps in the near future, it may be time for Triatel to move to the next higher-speed generation of EV DO in order to keep up. LTE (promising an unlikely 100 Mbps, but probably a decent two-figure speed) is just around the corner, too, some say. Tele2 is building out in Sweden in 2010 and local sources say the Latvian "little brother" wants the same toys as the Swedes and soon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A non-reportage (?) from Sweden's Silicon Valley

I spend a long weekend -- Saturday to Monday -- in Stockholm and got a hold of one of my best sources, Tomas Bennich of the Kista Mobile & Broadband Showcase (soon to be called something else). He was too busy to talk on camera, in fact, the whole scene around Kista Science City, the umbrella (not roof, as I say on camera) organization for various high-tech and telecoms related activities seems to be jumping. So here is my take on what is happening:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

John Strand skeptical on mobile TV

I met John Strand, the somewhat iconoclastic mobile telecoms analyst, at the Dream on Demand digital broadcasting conference in Tallinn, Estonia about a week ago. I asked him to comment on mobile TV (which is available in Latvia through LMT, though not on their network, but on air) in the Baltics.
Right now, however, Strand is debunking the iPhone in a more that 100 page report, as well as on YouTube, where he expounds on the findings. Don't get me wrong -- Strand doesn't diss the iPhone as a device. His argument is that from a mobile operator's point of view, the iPhone is no miracle from heaven (in terms of revenue generation, etc.) and probably with negative effects. But watch that stuff seperately. Here he is from Tallinn on August 27, 2009.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Stockholm School of Economic in Riga to videocast lectures

The Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga) will start videopodcasting and podcasting its lectures by the end of September, this blogger has learned. According to my sources, this will make SSE Riga the first institution of higher education in the Nordic-Baltic region to offer its lectures to a global audience on the internet.
Lectures will be videocast live and stored for download or viewing later on demand. Viewers will be able to post written questions and comments to the lecturer during live videocasts, with commenting likely to be restricted to students and registered users (to prevent abuse).
Teaching at SSE Riga is in English, making the lectures accessible to a broad global audience.
SSE Riga has reportedly bought Apple servers and other equipment as a platform for the videocasts/podcasts and archive.