Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bite Lietuva: Fastest Lithuanian Mobile Internet gets 3 times faster!!!

Yes we are! Yesterday it was Latvia (Latvija). Today is Lithuania (Lietuva). The power of working as a Group efficiently!!!

After completing another successful stage of the network modernization project, we have tripled the speed of our mobile broadband. After this upgrade still fastest in Lithuania, Bite Lietuva's mobile internet service now is one of the fastest mobile internet connections in whole Europe.  

Bitė is the first mobile internet provider in Lithuania offering broadband mobile internet of such a speed. Tripled speed is supported in all Bitė’s 3,5 G network available in 41 towns across the country and covers more than 65 percent of population.

In the middle of September Bitė‘s maximal mobile internet speed increased from 5 Mbps till 15 Mbps and average speed reached 6 Mbps. 

From the middle of September new "Vodafone Mobile Connect" modems supporting new speed are now available at Bitė’s outlets. Our customers may choose from 7,2 Mbps, or 21,6 Mbps modems. Actually all our customers, that are in 3,5 G will notice improvements on their speeds regardless of their modems. Also all our customers accessing the internet thought the smartphones will also be able to browse at faster speeds. 

What are you waiting for? Join Bite 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bite empowers Latvia to be among top 5 European countries with fastest mobile internet

Wanted to include here our press release launched today on the recently launched upgrade on our mobile internet service, reaching speeds and quality not see in Latvia until now. In the coming days I will be publishing a white paper on this topic, covering both the mobile internet development both in Latvia and Lithuania

Also please find some links to some of the media coverage (in Latvian & Russian)
Link to article on (Latvian)
Link to article on russina business daily
Link to article on Delfi.LV (Latvian)

Well done Bite!!!!

Press Release 

After modernization of all 3G base stations in Latvia, Bite is launching the fastest mobile internet speed in the country, ranking Latvia among top 5 fastest in the whole Europe. Bite mobile internet speed in urban areas is on average 6 Mbps (download) – doubling the existing available speeds on the market in Latvia and reaching same level of the Mobile Broadband leaders in Europe. Tests carried out for two weeks by a group of active internet users prove that download speeds overreaching even 11 Mbps are available in Riga.

“We are proud to see that our network modernization puts Latvia on the map of fastest mobile internet speeds in Europe. And even more – we hope that our clients will enjoy the ability to download a song just in 1 second or watch a Youtube video with no interruptions on their phones or using mobile internet modems for laptops,” comments Fred Hrenchuk, CEO of Bite Latvia.

According to Akamai, the state of the internet report Q1 2010 out of 109 mobile providers operating in Europe, only 4 operators (in UK, Slovakia, Poland and Russia) have average speeds above 3 Mbps. With the mobile network upgrade, Bite is joining the group with average download speed of 6 Mbps. Which means that for example a song in mp3 file format can be downloaded in 1 second, whereas streaming of Youtube video would be without any interruptions.
14 European mobile operators have average connection speeds in the 2 Mbps or above range, while 35 have average measured connection speeds of 1 Mbps or more. Average download speed of mobile internet on Latvian market so far has been ranging from 1 to 3 Mbps.

Latvia is ranking also among the first European countries to have the new generation mobile internet modem on the market. This modem has theoretical capacity of processing 21 Mbps download and 5.8 Mbps upload speed. Whereas previous models available in Latvia and Europe have had capacity till 7.2 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload speed in ideal conditions.

As we’ve already announced, Bite has started most advanced network modernization project in the Baltics. The project is still in process, but all 3G base stations have been already modernized providing the first tangible benefit for Bite customers – higher mobile internet speed. The network modernization investment is using the latest technologies and solutions that will provide Bite customers with wider network coverage, faster data transmission speeds, and a higher signal and voice quality. All new equipment by Huawei is ready for future upgrades to 4G and LTE, if there is customer demand and as soon as it is allowed by the license conditions. New technologies are very environment friendly and will help Bite to reduce its energy consumption (and therefore CO2 emissions).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Be Aware: Why is Apple so silent about itunes accounts being hacked?

Past July (july 4th/7th) there was an initial alarm on the websphere and social media sites (facebook and twitter mainly) that several itunes accounts have been hacked and we being used by some to buy different apps for the iPhone (mostly linked to a vietnamese developer called Thuat Nguyen).

There was no official announcement from Apple, no patch releases, no advice indicated
Official position goes into "400 iTunes accounts were compromised in this attack. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that's out of 150 million registered iTunes users, or around 3 ten-thousandths of a percent"
As the story has developed, the problem has grown far more serious than initially thought – not just that one particular developer and his apps - the Apple App store is filled with App Farms being used to steal.

Furthermore If you go a bit deeper into the investigation you will see that more and more cases have been reported and the seriousness of the cases have been increasing. What I mean by this? Well many itunes accounts are linked to a PayPal account which is linked to a credit card account. 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 you get it? Lots of people has reported this and we are talking about thousands of dollards in fradulental transactions

PayPal response: PayPal has acknowledged the fraudulent charges and is currently reimbursing customers. 

However, the company continues to insist that the security breach is "happening on the iTunes side."
Apple response: "But if your credit card or iTunes password is stolen and used on iTunes, we recommend that you contact your financial institution and inquire about canceling the card and issuing a charge-back for any unauthorized transactions. We also recommend that you change your iTunes account password immediately."

Judge by yourself
Yes people is not careful with their passwords and yes that may be pure password robbery, however the fact that itunes is not addressing the security issue is worrysome and not worth of a company that portraits itself as a customer advocat. There is some obvious security vulnerability that Apple can't or won't address. No other account from other reputable sites has been reporting such issues these days

BTW the case is far from close. Andrea told me yesterday that her account has been hacked. Fortunetly the only money there was from aple gift card (150 USD) so chance to get into PayPal, but be aware. Change your passwords and maybe time to stop buying in itunes with yor credit card until Apple does address the issue
Remember in Apple eyes, YOU ARE GILTY NOT APPLE

Related sources:
Link to thenextweb - sotry on app store hacked itunes
Link to tg daily - story on Apple itunes and the plague of scammers
Link to apple forum on itunes hacked

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dell Streak: my own review

I have been trying different Android lately and I go tmy hands into the Dell Streak lately. Until now most of the alternatives to the Ipad were Chinese Android devices, including the Huawei S7 which I was using for a while. Many of them were good devices, but to beat the Ipad specially when you don't have a brand you need more

So I took the Dell Streak, no expectations but excited (and 1 month later I am still using it quite regularly)

Hardware: beautiful, elegant, slim. Very sexy
Size and weight: Very light (220g). Fits on my trousers back pocket beautifully
Screen: crispy, however size seems like a big phone. No way I can use it to do presentations or prepare documents. Mostly great for web browsing, messaging and email reading 
Software: my unit has Android 1.6. Not enough. It needs at least 2.1 (which supposedly is coming any time on the coming weeks and will be using frodo (2.2) before the end of year).  You notice mostly on the screen transitions. Most of the Android apps are working. What it is nice is that if you are familiar with Android there is no learning curve
Battery: one of the weakest points of the unit. Gives you at the most 2 hours specially if you use the phone functions
Phone: obviously you are not going to use it to talk using it as a normal phone but it does a good job using a bluetooth headset or headphones. The speakerphone is not as good as it could be
Camera: great picture camera, one of the best I have seen but weak video 

Verdict: I love playing with this unit and doing my newspaper browsing while having breakfast. Or watching some youtube videos. But as one of the bloggers in Latvia asked me the other day "what do you do with it?", there is no clear usage. It could replace my laptop on the weekend, but for that it needs a better battery and android 2.1. Or it could replace my Blackberry on the weekend (even during the week), but it is not that easy to write quickly (having said that after several months I am starting to type rather quickly at the HTC desire unit that I usually play with)
And with a price tag of 500 Eur I believe it can't be a mass market. (it needs to be on the 250-300 Eur range)
furthermore having a unit as the Samsung galaxy coming along

BTW as the Samsung Galaxy gets a lot of press these days, this is a great review and comparison of both the streak and the galaxy (which I hope to be testing very soon)
Link to Know your comporison galaxy vs. streak

Product Features
Screen 5'' WVGA (gorilla Glass Display)
1GHZ Qualcomm processor
5.0 MP (rear)/VGA (front) camera
3G (modem 7.2/5.76)
Battery 4.7 W
Memory Internal 16gb + Micro SD (external)
Measurements 152.9 x 79.1 x 10 mm

More details on features, I like this site

Link to gsm arena Dell Streak detailed product features

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bite starts cooperation with EMC (Media Coverage) - INcluding some quotes

Bite has launched a three-year cooperation project with data storage and management corporation EMC. EMC in cooperation with its partner, Bull Baltija, will provide data storage and maintenance services to the telecommunication company. "The amount of data used and processed by mobile connection operators is growing every year. Hence, we must efficiently use data storage technologies. EMC solutions we have upgraded our infrastructure with will help optimise data storage and use available resources more efficiently," Cristobal Alonso, Chief Technology Officer at Bite Group, says.

Below you‘ll find media monitoring results (with active hyperlinks) from today's Bite – EMC press release. Press release were published in three biggest Lithuanian news portals (,,, business daily portal and in other target media channels.

  1. Bite invests in data 2010 08 31
  2. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  3. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  4. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  5. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  6. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  7. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  8. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  9. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  10. Bite to cooperate with IT giant 2010 08 31
  11. Bite to cooperate with IT giant EMC in data 2010 08 31
  12. EMC to provide data storage services to 2010 08 31
  13. Bite to cooperate with IT giant EMC. ELTA 2010 08 31
  14. Bite to start cooperation with corporation EMC. 2010 09 01

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thomas Friedman, The need for a greener world and some latest developments (II)

Second development I was interested on touching base is what Mr. Friedman describes as the Smart Black Box, or basically the devices capable of managing the smart grid on private houses. The way it is described on the book it makes you believe we are talking about a science fiction movie, but the reality is that the technology, companies and users are already here. What we need is just some regulatory push and a clear push on objectives settings by companies. The market and the users will do the rest

Smart grids is composed of those communications technologies that increase the level of efficiency to allow operators to balance supply and demand across the network. The intrinsic intermittent nature of  renewable energy sources , such as wind power makes this development key for the future of such energies. Furthermore so called "advanced" smart grids will allow electricity companies some control over customers’ appliances, for instance by turning on washing machines at night when electricity was cheaper and wind plentiful, or turning down fridges at times of high demand.

The beauty of this concept is that it is here and now. Reading the FT on August 10th, on the online comments section we read a description of how the EU smart grids are developing (from Masa Serdarevich). This include:
  • the EU setting a target to have 80% of the household with smart meters by 2020. 
  • To move from today's EU installed based of 53m meters to more than 200m by the end of the decade
  • To the development of different companies competing for this market,
  • How already in Italy Enel together with california based company Echelon has already implemented 27m units!!! and it is on the making to launch a project in Spain for another 13m roll out. 
Optimistic? Maybe but clearly moving into the right direction.
One more sign for optimism and in the right direction? We can read on the online edition of the FT on July 26th how "...Ofgem is to change its rules to make it easier for energy companies to raise from customers the £32bn needed to help modernise the electricity grid, in an abrupt reversal of the principles of post-privatisation regulation"
The UK is clearly of the European countries far behind so time to react 

Link to FT online edition news on Ofgem smart grid decision

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet moments at our call center

 I have always hear many legends around what happens once in a while with a particular customer at a mobile operator call center. Many of these stories they become legends and they pass over the years as part of the company history or culture

When sometimes somebody in our team sends us one of these stories, it always touches you. Our customer care quality manager Terese Kanapiene share with us such a story today

I do my little translation to English and I keep the lithuanian orginal from her

"So an old lady called our customer care (Justina Sakalauskaite) wanting to get a phone (a prepaid one from Labas). However she is very old and could not pick it up from one of the locations. Furthermore she asked if we have a phone with big buttons as he has problems seeing clearly. Such a phone is not on our range but the team was touched and decided to make it ahppen. Our logistics team did find an old phone used for testing (don't know the model but I can remember the size of the first 3G phone from Siemens for example, it was huge!!!!) that was huge and had big buttons. One of our guys do live close to the lady and he offered to take the phone to her

When he come to her house she wanted to pay for the delivery and the phone. We told her that it was our pleasure, But somehow she managed to put the money on Arunas' pocket. He found out when he got home and our team offered to credit her labas card with the money she gave us. She told us "I forgave you to do such a thing. Get the money and buy something nice for the ladies in the team". So here we are, the team did go our a buy some cute blankets (see picture) ahead of the winter soon to arrive

Love you guys and love how we put our customers first

In Lithuanian
Turim tokią LABAS klientę ponią Jadvygą, kuri naudojasi mūsų paslaugomis jau 3 metus, jai sugedo telefonas. Kadangi maloni ponia Jadvyga jau su amžiumi ir atvykti i BITĖS saloną jai sunku, todėl paklausė ar galėtų kas nors atvežti jai telefoną į namus, bet tokį su didesne klaviatūra.

Arūnas surado telefoną iš logistikos nebenaudojamų testinių telefonų fondo ir nuvežė jį poniai Jadvygai. Klientė primygtinai siūlė pinigus ir nejučia įkišo pinigus į kišenę. Grįžus dar buvo mėginta klientei pasiūlyti įdėti pinigus į jos LABAS kortelės sąskaitą, tačiau ji kategoriškai mums uždraudė tai daryti.

Už ponios Jadvygos įduotus pinigus mes CC nupirkome 9 pledukus, kad galėtume šildytis šaltom rudens dienom.
Poniai Jadvygai nusiūsime padėkos laiškelį su mūsų nuotrauka 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thomas Friedman, The need for a greener world and some latest developments (I)

Lately I have read the entire and updated (2.0 version)  of Thomas Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and crowded",   
Taking it from his own website,
"...Now Friedman brings a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy—both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to all of us who are concerned about the state of America in the global future.

Friedman proposes that an ambitious national strategy—which he calls "Geo-Greenism"—is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure"

In my opinion Friedman's book is still one of the most accessible but at the same time incisive and well researched books aound the problem and magnitude of the badly called (probably one of the worst naming strategies ever as the name does more harm that anything to the cause) Global Warming and to propose a number of initiatives, taking his points on how America (USA) can lead these changes

Being this one of my key personal and professional issues and having even as a company (Bite) taking a stand on green strategies I can recommend this reading

Interesting enough there a couple of development around 2 of the key ideas of Friedman's book: how to legislate on the US side (on the part of the book about Code Green) the Co2 emissions using price signals and secondly what he calls the "black box" or smartgrid

Chapter13 - The stone age didn't end because we run out of stones (you probably get the idea from the title right?) -
Basically the main point of the chapter is the need for the government to step in to make the polluting (and before some of you debates why, just think how the governments have stepped in to help people stop smoking - with taxes and education) fuels expensive enough and there are several options to do this, but at the end the options are a "direct" carbon tax or an indirect tax through a cap and trade system. As many of you know this summer the Obama's government failed to have approved through Senate the cap and trade proposed system

I really see this as a total failure of the US to see its won decadence and to recognize how f.... up they are and how this could be the only opportunity to get back at the lead (because the Chinese are going to take care of this issue in terms of leadership also). Furthermore while I am not happy really with Obama lack of strong stand on this one (did he used all of it on the health care reform battle) or if some of my friends the system (who designed a system that does not help your country to take or make the right decisions?), it is time to look at the future
First I don;t believe on the cap and trade as much as I believe the real effective measure is to apply a carbon tax. I think the cap and trade is dead, but I believe that the government will be back in 2 to 3 years and this time it will be with a carbon tax
Secondly is that most of the necessary regulation could come from the federal agencies imposing different measures and limits on emissions and other urgent and necessary regulations

By the way, on this point, I love the harsh and direct David Roberts blog post right after teh bill did not pass the senate and don't miss the follow up comments (really really interesting)
Link to David Roberts "On the death of the Climate Bill"

Friday, August 20, 2010

(Updated) Bloggers and journalist inform on Bite LAtvia Baltic's Most Advanced Newtork development - Partially In Latvian

After our network expedition where we invited several journalist and social media / bloggers / twitter from LAtvia to see our kitchen (both the network and the real Bite kictchen) and also several phone interviews, there is a lot of coverage around it

Look at some the links on the right corner (including some youtube action)

This one from blogger Kristaps: Es biju dzirdējis, ka Freds un Kristobals jums ir riktīgi feini cilvēki, bet šodien par to pārliecinājos pats. [I had heard that your Fred and Cristobal are cool guys, but today had the chance to witness it myself]
 This one is in Latvian from Latvian Telecom blogger and journalist Juris Kaza on NAzare.LV
(Thanks to our PR consultant, Zane Bojare from Hauska for the article and the voice over translation)
"Bite Latvija": Trešdaļa tīkla bāzes staciju drīzumā būs spējīgas sniegt 4G pakalpojumus
Publicēta: 17:03 19.08.2010.
Rīga, 19.aug., NOZARE.LV. Aptuveni trešā daļa "Bite Latvija" mobilo sakaru tīkla bāzes staciju līdz 1.septembrim būs tehnoloģiski spējīgas sniegt ceturtās paaudzes (4G) mobilā interneta datu pārraides ātrumus, bet 4G testēšana plašākā apjomā, visticamāk, sāks tikai 2011.gadā, sarunā ar biznesa portālu "" teica "Bite" grupas tehniskais direktors Kristobals Alonso.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Usual active social media in Latvia (II)

This is really even more interesting and fun – some enthusiast has even made a web poll re who has created the webpage.
Check the results:

Link to poll on who has created the webpage

more votes are for the „average envious Latvian” or „independent enthusiast”.. from operators – Tele2 as you can see.

Vote and enjoy

Usual active social media in Latvia: post translated (I)

The storms did hit Latvia and Lithuania during the past weekend so we were very busy

Today I was reading a little bit around the Latvian social media sphere (very active as usual) and the team pointed out an interesting post from Krizdabz, which I have posted his links  once before.

Link to krizdabz blog posting on navzonas

The post relates to a project / website that has just been created called, which aims to show where the coverage of mobile operator Bite is not ideal. I leave you with a translation to his article. Once more there is no need for such websites, we love to hear from our customers and to hear their feedback and complaints. On the network side you can go to Link to Bite web site area for network feedback . We can assure you we will listen and come back to you

This is a rough translation from parts of  his post

".....In the description of the Project we can read the following...........

I have created this webpage so that me and other existent or former Bite clients could report on places/spots where the coverage of the mobile operator is not really complying with promises or where there are some problems with the network, ie, „the coverage pits” /Source –

The principle of the Project is quite clear, there’s a map where anyone can mark a point where there are problems with Bite network, and can check what others have marked. The goal of the Project could even be called noble. But I am a typical sceptical average Latvian and consider this Project not an honest dealing with some person’s sadness and suffering, but an example of typical black pr campaign. Mobile operators in Latvia are on a competitive warfare, therefore it’s not a surprise  that such projects appear. I just am sorry that such dirty methods are used and persons are not willing to take the responsibility for their work.

time for a short reflection: a quote I just read

"to laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better...—this is to have succeeded.
     ~ ralph waldo emerson  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Inspire by words of the "professional expatriate"

I was just reading an interview with British journalist (and owner of a nice bookshop in Riga, Robert's books) Robert Cottrell on the Baltic Outlook magazine. The article is called "professional expatriate", where Robert relates to his experiences living in many countries since he left the UK more than 15 years ago
I can relate to many of his words but there is one sentence that I truly like 
When describing than like anything else you get better a being a foreign the longer you do it, Robert says 
"...The longer you spend traveling in different countries, the more you start to think that everything is special and everything has its own merit, it's own reason to be"
Amen Robert, well said and thank you for a wonderful reading 

You can download the entire August issue of the magazine in the link below and read the full interview with Robert
Link to Air Baltic August Magazine

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Strong growth in Free cash flow in Quarter 2 2010
Quarter 2 EBITDA of € 11.0 million, increased by 39.2% from Quarter 2 2009
EBITDA minus CAPEX improved 173% to reach € 9.9 million
Quarter 2 results
Service Revenue1 for Quarter 2 reached € 38.9 million compared to € 43.2 million for the second quarter of 2009. Consolidated Earnings before interest, income taxes and depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)2 increased to € 11.0 million compared to € 7.9 million for the second quarter of 2009. EBITDA margin of Service Revenue grew to 28% for Quarter 2 of 2010 compared to 18% for Quarter 2 of 2009. Free cash flow3 is positive € 3.4 million for Quarter 2 of 2010 compared to negative € 2.5 million for the second quarter
of 2009.

Quarter 2 results for Bité Lithuania and Bité Latvia
Service Revenue for Bité Lithuania for Quarter 2 decreased to € 31.1 million compared to €
37.3 million for the second quarter of 2009. EBITDA increased to € 12.1 million compared to € 11.6 million for the second quarter of 2009. Service Revenue in Bité Latvia for Quarter 2 increased to € 8.1 million compared to € 6.2 million for the second quarter of 2009. Bité Latvia Subscriber base grew by 74% compared Quarter 2 of 2010 with Quarter 2 of 2009 to reach critical mass of subscribers as EBITDA improved to negative € 0.5 million compared to negative € 2.9 million for the second quarter of 2009.

Link to Bite Group Official press release

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rumours on the Indian 35 USD iPad (even if still at least a year away from hitting the shelves)

Yes, you read that right. Nope, it's not a typo. £25 (actually, £23 on current rates). Rumoured features include colour, multi-touch 10.5" screen, 2Gb memory, Flash compatibility, Wifi, Ethernet connection, camera and an optional extra of a solar charger.
That means word processing, video conferencing, web browsing and yes, the ability to play Flash videos, games for less than the cost of the AppleCare warranty on an iPad (3 times less, if we're counting).
The Indian technology sector is developing a name for itself for throwing out the rule book when it comes to the cost of consumer technology. Witness the £1,900 Nano car from Tata and for roughly the same price, how's about open heart surgery.

The caveats? The device is still a prototype and the government is on the hunt for a manufacturer. Their aim is to have the tablet on-sale in 2011.
Finding a company to produce the device on what must be wafer-thin margins might be a challenge, although with a potential home market of 1bn people, there should be plenty of opportunity to make profit on volume sales.

Link to Chinwag blog posting

Link to Android Tablet forum including YouTube demo video