VILNIUS - Tele2, Lithuania's second lar-gest mobile phone operator, announced last week it would start offering fixed-line telephone services via Lietuvos Telekomas' network beginning Feb. 11.
"On average the tariffs of international calls, [Tele2-based] calls to mobile networks and intercity calls in peak time will be 15 percent lower... compared with the tariffs charged by Lietuvos Telekomas," Pranas Kuisys, Tele2's commercial director, told reporters at a press conference.
However, the company said initially it would not offer domestic calls and Internet service due to the high network connection tariffs charged by the former fixed-line monopoly Lietuvos Telekomas, Kuisys added. Also, tariffs on off-peak intercity calls will be higher than the respective tariffs set by Lietuvos Telekomas.
The official added that Tele2 would consider offering the above services should the maximum network connection tariffs established by the communications regulatory authority decline.
Petras Masiulis, CEO of Tele2 and Tele2 Fiskuotas Rysys, a subsidiary, noted that investments into fixed-line telephone services, including marketing costs, would reach some 30 million litas (8.7 million euros) in a three-year period. Masiulis added that Tele2 Fiksuotas Rysys would focus on business clientele, though private customers may apply for services as well.
"Operations of Tele2 on the market will boost popularity of fixed telephony because users will have more options to choose from," Nerijus Ivanauskas, Lietuvos Telekomas' marketing and sales deputy director, said.
As of late 2003, Lietuvos Telekomas operated 828,000 fixed lines, which represents a decline of 11.5 percent year-on-year.
Users of Tele2 fixed-line services will remain subscribers of Lietuvos Telekomas and, accordingly, will pay the bills of the former monopoly. Meanwhile, customers who conclude separate service agreements with Tele2 will not have to pay any additional fees.
Lithuania's fixed telephony market was liberalized from the beginning of 2003, though apart from Lietuvos Telekomas, only Eurocom, the telecommunications company associated with VP Market, the largest retail chain in the Baltics, has been a full provider of fixed-line services both to business and private customers.
Eurocom targeted some 12,000 fixed-line users by 2004, with approximate revenues totaling some 5 million litas.
According to estimates, Tele2, which is controlled by Swedish telecommunications operator Tele2, has some 600,000 mobile subscribers.