Elion launched its new Internet-based telephone service, hotifon, on May 17 for testing. The service is available for hot.ee users, and allows them to speak with each other over the phone for free. The testing period will run until the end of August. Elion, which belongs to the Eesti Telekom group, offered a similar service a few years ago, although it didn't survive. Hotifon also offers free foreign calls, free text messages and video conversations, and a personal telephone number that can be accessed from both Estonia and across the world. The service costs nothing to join.
The Lithuanian mobile phone operator Bite Lietuva said its first-quarter revenues rose by 20.5 percent year-on-year to 134.3 million litas (38.9 million euros). EBITDA for the first quarter of this year reached 28.9 million litas, a rise of 58.2 percent from 2005. "The company's rapid growth proves once again that the differences in [mobile] operators' market shares will continue to narrow this year," Bite Lietuva CEO Maarten van Engeland said. Latvia's first-quarter revenues reached over a million euros, up 28 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2005. The company started operating in September 2005 after its owner, Bite Lietuva, won an auction for Latvia's third GSM/UMTS mobile communications license.
During the first two months of this year, the number of mobile phones imported to Latvia increased by 19.5 percent year-on-year to 75,500 mobile phones worth 7.4 million lats (10.53 million), the Latvian statistics bureau said. The total value of those mobile phones imported increased even more 's by 33.2 percent or 1.84 million lats year-on-year. Head of the Latvian Mobile Phone Dealer Association Aleksandrs Locmelis said the increase was thanks to operators, who offered low-cost mobile phones to their customers. He added that this trend will continue to increase Latvia's mobile phone imports. There are presently five mobile operators working in Latvia. LMT, Tele2 and Bite GSM provide services in the GSM/UMTS standard and Triatel offers services in an alternative, CDMA standard. There are also virtual mobile operators Zetcom and IZZI that sell prepaid telephone cards.