LMT must contribute to strengthening national defense capabilities - Valainis

  • 2024-02-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) mobile operator has a track record of developing innovative products and services, including in the field of defense, and the company's expertise should be used to strengthen national defense capabilities, Economics Minister Viktors Valainis (Greens/Farmers) said on Thursday at a meeting with LMT President Juris Binde.

The minister noted that the 5G test environment created by LMT is already being used at the Adazi military base, which provides an opportunity to develop and test various innovative technological solutions for national defense. "This LMT activity should be continued and expanded," Valainis said.

Valainis met with Binde and other LMT managers to discuss the telecommunication groups' further development, as well as the Latvian electronic communication and innovation environment. 

The LMT managers briefed the minister on the company's development plans, including matters concerning innovation, opportunities provided by the 5G network and involvement in defense projects. 

The minister was also told about LMT's involvement in a microchip project implemented at Riga Technical University (RTU). Investments needed for the first phase of the project are estimated at EUR 15-20 million, and a further EUR 30 million will be needed for the second phase. 

Valainis said that the Economics Ministry is ready to take responsibility for the further development of this project and is currently considering a possible source of funding.

The requirement for a microchip competence center in each European Union (EU) member state is laid down in the European Chips Act, adopted last September, whose main objective is to ensure a sovereign and a largely self-sufficient EU semiconductor market. RTU, in cooperation with the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science and the Institute of Solid State Physics, has now taken the lead in coordinating the semiconductor ecosystem, has made the necessary preparations and has entered into cooperation negotiations with leading European and global players in this field.

LMT's turnover in 2022 was EUR 165.368 million, up 3.5 percent year-on-year, while the company's profit fell 6.8 percent to EUR 28.9 million.

LMT is 49 percent owned by the Swedish Telia Company and its subsidiary Sonera Holding, 23 percent each by SIA Tet and the Latvian State Radio and Television Center, and 5 percent by public asset manager SIA Possessor.