Latvian mobile network operator Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) has reportedly begun offering commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the resort town of Jurmala, 25km west of the capital Riga. According to the Baltic Course, the service is only available initially to users of the cellco’s ‘Internet Datora 19’ tariff, and LMT has recommended that subscribers utilise specific ZTE modems in order to benefit from the increased speeds offered by the 4G technology. Looking forward, the cellco is now expected to increase LTE coverage parallel to the development of its 3G network, the latter of which covers approximately 80% of Latvia’s territory, a figure which LMT expects to rise to 90% by the end of 2011. Commenting on the development, LMT president Juris Binde noted: ‘This is an opportunity for existing and potential LMT clients to use the latest mobile communication technologies, which may also encourage new business and recreation ideas in the future.’
The launch comes in line with LMT’s previously announced plans, and as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in June 2010 the operator announced that it had started testing LTE technology at a retail outlet in Liepaja, offering customers the opportunity to trial the service for two weeks. Having said that the trials would continue over the summer period, with planned expansion to stores in Daugavpils, Rezekne and Valmiera, in August 2010 it duly revealed that customers in Rezekne and Valmiera could access the trial service. LMT’s parent company, Sweden-based TeliaSonera, which has already launched commercial LTE services in its home territory and Norway, has meanwhile fulfilled its stated aim of becoming the first Latvian operator to inaugurate a commercial 4G LTE offering.