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Tuesday 22.05.2018 | Name days: Emīlija

Tele2 Chairman: smartphones will be used as credit cards

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Valdis Vancovics

Tele2 Board Chairman Valdis Vancovics

Smartphones will develop as a means of payment and it will be possible to use them as credit cards via contactless technologies, the Chairman of Tele2 Board Valdis Vancovičs (Vancovics) told in an interview to the business news portal BNN.

Commenting on the competition between mobile phone operators in Latvia, he explains that competitiveness is particularly fierce in Latvia’s mobile telecommunications sector. Mobile users benefit the most from that – prices keep falling.

What mobile phone functions will operators be able to provide in near future?

Future belongs to smartphones and mobile data. The development of these two areas will determine the new telecommunications service users’ habits. The smartphone will also evolve as an instrument of payment and it will be used as a credit card through contactless technologies. Although the first companies offering payment settlements with smartphones are emerging throughout the world, and mobile phone manufacturers forecast rapid development of this segment, such phones with billing options would not gain popularity in Latvia before 2015.

Will mobile phones compete with handheld computers?

In terms of operators, fast mobile data transfer will definitely remain as the basic service, but additional services such as voice calls, configuration and use will be up to consumers. Mobile phones functionality will allow users to install many useful and entertaining programmes and applications found on the Internet. Smartphones performance will keep up with laptops; 3D graphics interfaces will appear, as well as other still unknown ways of data entry.

How will such changes affect mobile operator networks?

All this will boost data traffic in mobile operator networks. We predict that in this decade mobile Internet services will be the fastest-growing segment in Latvia and in the world. It will further advance mobile phones, e-commerce transactions and, consequently, people’s habits.

What future do you see for handhelds?

A pleasant feature of palmtop computers (PDA), passed over from smartphones, is the ability to be ready for operation at any time. Nobody wants to wait several minutes to start a laptop. It is expected their popularity, due to this reason in particular, will grow in comparison to laptops. PDAs will be the main competitors of laptops. While in most cases mobile phones and PDAs will join forces and supplement each other.

What are your views on the rise in competition among the three Latvian operators with one limited number of customers migrating freely between them?

In Latvia, there is fierce rivalry in the mobile telecommunications industry. And the winner is the mobile user – prices keep dropping. In 2010 and also now the number of our clients exceeds one million. When it comes to the number of clients, only 3 – 4% of the total number of mobile phone users decide to change their operator. Compared to the total number of new clients, this proportion is very small. All mobile operators in Latvia have clients who have transferred to another operator, as well as clients who have come from another operator. Prepaid card customers have «migrated» the most, due to less obligations.

How are unused SIM card numbers written off?

Operators have to pay the state a duty on the use of numerical ranges; therefore, they are interested in using numbers as efficiently as possible. Unused numbers are not scrapped. After 6-month «freeze», they are put back for use and the new client can choose the number and use it.

Is it possible to buy abroad subsidized O2, Vodafone and other handsets to use them in Latvia?

Typically, operators offering subsidized mobile phones, have a reason to do this, as they aim at attracting clients for a longer term. Therefore, they usually ensure that such phones can be used in their network exclusively. It is possible to use these subsidized phones in Latvia’s networks only in cases when the operator has not fixed the mobile phone to a particular network.

Does reading the IMEI code and calling the operator prevent stolen handset sales at pawnshops?

If the mobile phone is stolen, it is necessary to contact the mobile operator’s customer support immediately. It is possible to block the phone at the client’s request. Thieves were good at modifying the identification code of earlier phone models; however, in recent years, phone manufacturers have more thoroughly protected mobile phones to make such activities practically impossible.

How long and why are all messages stored on the communications exchange server? Have you ever cooperated with the Interior Ministry and other security institutions in cases of mobile communications tapping?

Mobile operators do not need to engage in telephone tapping, and they do not. Security institutions themselves carry out interceptions in line with the legislation, by using a special connection to the operator’s network known as the lawful interception point. Operators provide connection to this interception point, but cannot find out any details on the security institution’s actions. The same applies to text messages.

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