Phone bills will rise in Latvia

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All three mobile providers in Latvia will raise prices. Companies will raise prices almost at once although there is no mutual agreement. The main argument for the change is the increase in energy prices, Latvian Television reported October 31.

Telecommunications providers “Bite” and “Latvijas Mobilais telefons” (LMT) will raise their prices on Tuesday, November 1. “Tele2” will raise them on December 1. All three operators indicated the same reasons.

Tele2's commercial director, Raivo Rosts, said that increases in energy prices have reached unplanned levels this year.

Bite's Corporate and Public Relations chief Una Ahuna-Ozola said that rising energy prices are only one of the components. “Prices have also been lifted by competitors, logistics, and our planned investment in the grid.”

“We have currently reviewed all tariffs and realized that we cannot provide services at the scheduled prices of 2022,” said Ilze Saulīte, director of the LMT Private Service.

Service prices for all operators will increase for all tariff plans. Bite will raise the price of all tariffs by €1.75, Tele2 by €1 to 2 depending on the tariff type, while LMT's average price increase will be €2. The companies denied that there would have been a mutual agreement.

Price-raising has likely not been mutually agreed upon, but it is clear that entrepreneurs are watching the decisions of competitors, said the Competition Council (KP).

"The telecommunications sector is characterized by a market structure called oligopolistic, or by a small number of market participants. And in such a market structure, companies are not price-takers, but price-makers, including very closely reliant on each other. In addition, this market is well-transparent. Which would explain why this price increase is taking place relatively simultaneously,” said Mārtiņš Čerļenoks, senior expert at KP's analytical department.

The Consumer Rights Protection Centre indicated that operators may also change prices before the contract expires. However, the operator must inform the consumer of any changes in the price of the service at least one month in advance, and the operators have done this.

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