Wednesday, March 07, 2012

More on LMT, HAL & the bag man - Lattelecom be slightly afraid

I found out the real story behind the Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) offer that seems to suggest the fixed line numbers can be transferred to a mobile operator. They can. What LMT has set up is a wireless "fixed line" phone service, much the way Lattelecom once did with CDMA standard operator Triatel.  The whole thing does run off a GSM SIM card, to which the Lattelecom  number can be transferred as a fixed line number. This baffled me at first, since, generally, fixed line phones don't need SIM cards (except when they are wireless). As for tariff plans, the new LMT home package will be on a semi-flat rate basis, that is, giving more minutes for a fixed price than a normal user can consume in a month (up to 1 500 minutes, unlimited on the LMT network. The minutes in  can be used both for calling fixed and mobile phones (almost perfect convergence?). It is perhaps better than the Lattelecom unlimited flat rate, because with Lattelecom, once off the network or even calling a mobile phone, the money counter switches on.
So Lattelecom  is challenged to some extent. It may have to find a way to offer a similar service, at least to  add a mobile component to its offering, or to join forces and co-sell with LMT, with whom they have had a mutually cool arms-length relationship all these years. Maybe things will change when the never-ending story ends and TeliaSonera, hitherto the half-mother (haven't used that term in a while) is finally allowed to buy out the state and other shareholders in Lattelecom and LMT.

LMT, HAL and the bag man

These mysteries will be solved soon. Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT), has been running a TV commercial where a child approaches a fixed phone, which warns him not to use a mobile (maybe I am confusing something) whereupon the kid's father (the bag man) arrives with a big bag from LMT. Seems it is some kind of family pack.  Dad proceeds to unplug the landline phone, which makes a few desperate pleas (like HAL being disconnected in  2001: A Space Odyssey) and announces that everything will be mobile, including the home phone landline number.
The mystery is in just how this works. Seems that the wireless phone that is in the bag and goes with the landline (generally, a Lattelecom line) turns into a direct IP phone (hence it runs on WiFi or at least via the base-station router also in the bag). What this looks like to me is Lattelecom and LMT stealth launching Lattelecom's IP based new network. That means that wherever you can connect the wireless landline phone (via the router or stand-alone, if it is WiFi capable) to the IP network over the internet (in Riga or Singapore), you get a local virtual landline. There has been no announcement or detailed explanation of this, just the TV commercial. Will try to find out what is going on at an LMT event this evening. 

Facebook outage hits 300 000 users in Latvia

A Facebook outage lasting a few hours knocked around 300 000 users off the social network in Latvia (the whole barely 2 million strong nation would barely be a village in Facebook if it were a nation-state). This came just days after Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis set up his Facebook page and two days ahead of the launch of Latvia's official Facebook page "If you like Latvia, Latvia likes you" (the page has been up and running for some time already. Facebook  seems to have come back online again just after 10AM local. However, this is the only report my readers will have of what happened (even though I think Latvia was among the first to notice FB going down), because my news agency simply shitcanned the story. Reasons unknown,  your best guesses may start at provincialism, ignorance and worse...
Maybe this post also belong under the headline of Failed State Latvia? in my other blog.