Bite Latvia is planning to invest around EUR10 million (USD12.1 million) in infrastructure development this year to ensure capacity is sufficient to match the growing demands on the network and to ‘establish a solid basis’ for 5G. CEO Kaspars Bull explained that the company’s 4G rollout strategy had been tailored to meet usage needs, with 4G being deployed in the regions whilst major cities were covered by ‘4G+’ technology, and ‘4.5G’ in the capital: ‘This strategy ensures that at present, even with increasing usage volumes, the network capacity is robust.’ Highlighting the rising demand, the official added that monthly data usage in Riga had risen by 60% year-on-year to 436TB in January 2018, whilst in Daugavpils and Liepaja consumption rose by as much as 80% over the same period.
As part of its efforts to keep up with the growing demand, Bite is preparing for 5G technology, though Technical Director Gints Buten notes that 5G is still in the testing stage and, as such, ‘it is important to maintain a realistic view of this technology.’ The official added that he expects the standard to be finalised and supporting technologies to be ready in 2019, going on to say: ‘This year, our main steps in the development of 5G are in partnership with Unistars. Using the frequencies available for this company, we will expand the 4.5G network by equipping several base stations in the largest cities in Latvia with the technology. We also plan to launch Massive MIMO systems tests this autumn. This is one of the technologies that will play an important role in the introduction of 5G technology. It enhances the wireless connection capacity without the need for additional frequencies and its power is equivalent to the planned 5G power.’