LMT eyes fixed-line market

  • 2003-05-15

Latvia's leading mobile phone company, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, has requested a fixed-line license from the public utilities regulator.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission will rule on the license application on May 14, according to a commission official.

Latvia's fixed-line market was run by monopoly provider Lattelekom until Jan. 1 of this year. Several companies have lined up to enter the market, though Lattelekom has yet to open its infrastructure to competitors.

LMT spokesman Davids Dane said the company was seeking a fixed-line service license to expand services to existing customers.

He said the company would not establish a subsidiary to handle fixed-line business, unlike plans announced by its competitor, the mobile phone company Tele2.

LMT President Juris Binde said that the company would perform a thorough analysis on demand and market conditions before announcing the services it would offer.

A commission spokeswoman said LMT had requested a license for local and international voice calling and data services, including Internet access services.

She said the license was the same type requested by Tele2.

Transportation Ministry spokeswoman Inara Rudaka welcomed LMT's application and the further liberalization of Latvia's fixed-line market.

"The more operators, the better for the users," she said.

Lattelekom officials would not comment on LMT's application.

Tele2 head Mat Tilli said it was difficult to assess what impact Tele2 or LMT would have on the fixed-line market because Lattelekom has yet to agree to open its infrastructure, which the companies would need to reach consumers.

"It is not interesting to think about LMT's license at this point or the number of licenses issued by the regulator because Lattelekom is not ready to open the market for interconnections," he said.

Tilli said that negotiations between Tele2 and Lattelekom had failed.

"It is a part of Lattelekom's lingering tactics to delay the opening of the market for competition, and the regulator, which has the right to regulate the market if the competition is being hindered or delayed, has still not used its powers," he said.