The Lithuanian telecommunications market grew by 12.3 percent to 1.29 billion litas (373.6 million euros) during the first half of 2006 as compared with the previous year, the Communications Regulatory Authority reported in September. In the second quarter alone, the market rose by 5.9 percent when compared with the first quarter, reaching 663.2 million litas. The mobile phone penetration rate was at 130 percent as of June, while the total number of subscribers soared by 25.1 percent, year-on-year, to 4.41 million. As of June, Internet subscribers were up by 2.3 times, year-on-year, to 1.4 million people. Revenues from Internet access soared by 31.4 percent, to 128.8 million litas. The number of landlines declined by 2.3 percent, and shrank by 0.59 percent or 4,675 over the second quarter alone. Revenues on landline services totaled 214.8 million litas in January-June, a decline of 4.52 percent versus the year-earlier figure. Revenues on mobile services, meanwhile, rose by 3 percent, to 583.2 million litas in the reporting period. Total investment in the telecommunications network infrastructure increased by 60.51 percent to 214.27 million litas during the first six months of this year.
PMT, the Latvian representative of Five Plus virtual operator, has launched mobile telecommunications services under the 5+ brand. PMT owner Evgenii Lupov said the mobile services provided by PMT targeted people who call foreign countries, as the price of international calls provided by PMT will not exceed the price charged for local calls. The company also intends to provide various information services, such as mobile TV services in Russian, English and Latvian. The 5+ brand has already been registered in 28 countries in which the company is planning to launch its services, Luppov said. In Latvia virtual operator's services are available through the network of the Bite Latvija mobile operator. PMT share capital is worth 2,000 lats (2,800 euros), and its owners are Russian nationals Oleg Evsin and Evgenii Lupov.
The telecommunications operator Elion of the Eesti Telekom group pledges to incorporate a number of new functions into its own similar service. Elion promised to start providing a video on demand service which enables clients to order straight from the screen both Estonian and foreign movies and programs this year. Next year, the company plans to bring TV games and communication services similar to MSN and other services currently only offered through the Internet. Elion said it was practically impossible to provide such services via airborne digital television. Digital TV services offered by Elion and to be marketed by the joint venture of Levira and Starman are technically different. Elion's service is based on a physical communications network, thus resembling more closely the service provided by Starman on the basis of its cable TV network. Levira and Starman's new service will be airborne. The firms pledged to make the service accessible to 96 percent of households in Estonia by the end of next year.