Phone tariff increase not justified

  • 1999-03-04
RIGA (BNS) - The Telecommunication Tariff Council did not have sufficient information to authorize the change of telephone rates proposed by Lattelekom and to be effective April 1.

Egils Baldzens, deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission established to investigate the legality of the council's actions, said the commission had reached such conclusion after it questioned tariff council members.

"The council was not provided with the complete information about actual costs of telecommunication services," Baldzens said.

Peter Tabuns, a member of the parliamentary commission, told reporters that the council "sometimes seems to be just an appendix to Lattelekom rather than an independent body."

The commission also established that during the last three years, Lattelekom had failed to perform obligations against the Latvian state as specified under the framework agreement about the foundation of Lattelekom. For example, the company had failed to carry out modernization of the telecommunication system in Latvia to the extent provided under the agreement.

The commission undertook March 1 to further evaluate Tilt's performance to terms of the umbrella agreement.

Ingrida Udre, chairwoman, said that the parliamentary commission could give recommendations to the government which is currently negotiating with Sonera about cutting short the term of Lattelekom's monopoly over stationary communications in Latvia. It is within the government's realm to modernize the national telephone network.

The government of Latvia holds 51 percent of Lattelekom's shares. Tilts Communications, a holding company in which Sonera holds 90 percent, owns the remaining 49 percent of Lattelekom.