Telecoms prices on the rise in Latvia

Telecommunications services are getting more expensive. Companies explain that they have provided better internet and other improvements, so customer bills are also rising, Latvian Television reported April 16.

Information and communication technology service provider Bite changed tariffs on March 1, and monthly bills are about €2 higher.

The company explains price and service changes with 5G Internet improvements. True, not all tariff plans have been changed.

"We have invested. This is a completely, absolutely new technology where we equip base stations and 5G consumes a lot more electricity, so this is the sort of package that makes up the price changes, but the €1.85, VAT included, is not as big and substantial a change in relation to the quality that customers get," explained Una Ahuna-Ozola, head of corporate and public relations at Bite.

Similarly, "Latvijas Mobilais Telefons" (LMT) has done the same. Next month, about 10% of users will face price and supply changes. Apart from faster internet, LMT also promises to provide a cyber security solution that alerts customers of suspicious websites - all of which will raise the price by less than €2.

Ilze Saulīte, director of private Service at LMT, said many historic connections had not changed since 2017. "One of the tasks at this time is to make services relevant to contemporary usage and contemporary volumes and situations," Saulīte noted.

Meanwhile, the company Tet attributes the increase to changes in residents' habits. 

"The way people use services has changed. We see internet consumption rising. Last year, it was nearly 8%. This is due to global change. People use video content more. More watch videos on both large screens and small screens," Tet's commercial director Edgars Grandāns said.

Similarly, less than two years ago, mobile operators increased prices almost simultaneously.

Zane Gorškova, Head of the communications Division of the Competition Council, said that "if a market participant takes a decision to increase the price of a product or service, then this decision must be economically justified and be based on the individual strategy of each undertaking without coordinating the planned activities with other market participants".

But the Consumer Rights and Protection Centre (PTAC) said it had received requests from around 10 people for advice.

"Providers of electronic communications services have, in some respects, the right to unilaterally alter something in the context of an existing contract and an existing service. Also the price. But by informing the consumer beforehand. The consumer can then step down without a contractual penalty, for example, if there are any conditions in the contract," said Sanita Gertmane, spokeswoman for the PTAC.

The PTAC promises to investigate cases in depth and is urging residents to also report what they believe are suspicious cases.

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