Latvia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 142

Regulator approves spectrum sharing to facilitate 5G deployment

Latvia’s telecom market continues to benefit from investment and from regulatory measures aimed at developing 5G and fibre-based infrastructure. There is effective competition in the mobile market, with extensive services based on LTE-A technologies to boost data speeds. Operators such as Bité Latvia and Tele2 Latvia have also begun transitioning their networks to support services and applications based on 5G, though with the existing capacity of LTE infrastructure a large scale 5G deployment is not expected until 2023. To facilitate this progress, the regulator in March 2021 approved an application from Tele2 Latvia and Bité to share almost half of their spectrum assets.

In the fixed-line broadband sector, the country is ranked second highest in Europe (after Iceland) for fibre coverage and take-up, closely followed by Lithuania. With this infrastructure in place, the country has also developed a sophisticated digital economy, with e-commerce and e-government services widely available.

BuddeComm notes that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the telecoms market. On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, has offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect has been a reduced (and sometimes negative) subscriber growth, which will continue into 2021.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments:

  • Tet prepares to launch a 10Gb/s FttP service to areas of Riga;
  • Regulator permits Bité and Tele2 Latvia to share spectrum assets;
  • Rostelecom starts work on cable system running from the Latvian border to Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East;
  • Latvia’s MNOs undertaking cautious 5G expansion program while LTE infrastructure takes most of the mobile data load;
  • Tele2 Latvia secures a 50MHz block of 3.5GHz spectrum, installs initial 5G base stations;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data updates for 2020, telcos' operating and financial data to Q1 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

Tet (Lattelecom), Baltcom TV, Izzi, Viasat, Latvia Mobilais Telefons, Bité Latvia, Telekom Baltija, ZetCom, Tele2 Latvia, Latvenergo.

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