Mobile Phone Subscription in Latvia

Mobile Phone Subscription in Latvia

The divine natural scenery and rich history makes Latvia a favourite destination for many expats. For those fearing traveling to or living in new destinations, Latvia has great insurance companies that make sure all your individual fears and worries are covered. Be it a car, travel, health, home or whichever valuable you have when in Latvia, it will be well protected just in case a risk occurs. As if that is not enough, mobile phone service providers are also on standby to keep you connected both within and outside Latvia. I guess this is all that a traveller needs to feel comfortable. Not so?

I can bet on the fact that you’ll be enchanted by the beautiful blend of old and new that encompasses every aspect of life in Lithuania. Social media is awash with breath-taking pictures of Latvia’s ancient fountains and fortresses. To share this experience with your friends and family back home you will need a reliable mobile phone service. 

Latvians are also very friendly and welcoming people so you will make new friends fast. Staying connected in Latvia can be tricky since it has some of the worst cell phone coverage in Europe. If you are from a country where there are excellent cell phone services you might find this very frustrating. You should also be prepared for spotty service and long wait times when trying to get help from customer service.

Overview of Mobile Phone Services in Latvia 

The bad news is that Latvia relies on a GSM network so not all mobile phones will be compatible. Your old phone might not work here so maybe you should make a provision for a new phone in your budget. Most people in Latvia have a mobile phone so the mobile penetration is quite high. To subscribe to a mobile contract you must provide a passport, ID card, or driver’s license. 

On the bright side, Latvia has a variety of cell phone service providers so you can select the best. However, the connectivity and coverage of each provider will depend on your area. Most of these providers also offer fairly affordable mobile roaming rates across the EU. This should however, not stop you from comparing these providers to find one that suits your needs. 

Mobile Service Providers in Latvia 

Latvia has three main cellular service providers; LMT, TELE2 and BITE. Of these, LMT and TELE2 have the best 3G and 4G mobile internet coverage across all Latvia. The providers that offer 2G services rely on 900 and 1800 MHz. Tele2 and BITE have a network sharing agreement in Latvia and Lithuania. So you can use your phone in some parts of Lithuania. The providers offer a range of services and packages that fit the needs of their customers. 

Examples include Bites Karte, LMT Karte, and Zelta Zivtiņa (on Tele2 network). However, the providers with the best network coverage and speed are LMT and Tele2. Nevertheless, no one provider is so bad they should not be considered. For instance, Bite’s coverage is almost as good as the two. 

LMT has the highest number of subscribers because it has the best coverage and better offers than its competitors. Similarly, all the providers offer SIM cards that can be purchased from their shops, newsstands, kiosks, filling stations, supermarkets and other places. Latvia is unique because its providers don’t ask for ID or do any registration to get access to a Latvian SIM card. 

LMT (LMT Karte)

LMT’s large market share is mainly because it is owned by the state and the telco giant Telia. Most mobile phone users prefer it because it has the best 3G and 4G coverage. With them you get access to a prepaid SIM (LMT Karte). The card costs between €1.50 and €3. You will love this provider because it gives you many language options including Latvian, Russian or English. 

You can purchase a LMT Karte recharge voucher for €1.42, €2, €3.50, €5, €10 and €20 from anywhere in Latvia. Besides, you can also recharge them online through any international credit card. Most recharge vouchers will have a validity period that is dependent on when last recharged your phone. The provider will send you a message detailing when your recharge is likely to expire so be on the lookout for this. 

Zelta Zivtiņa (ZZ, by Tele2)

Tele2 is another provider with a good number of subscribers and coverage. Its prepaid SIM cards are known as Zelta Zivtiņa (ZZ). You can find ZZ cards in Tele2 stores, newsstands, and kiosks. It will cost you between €1.49 and €3.99. ZZ has an automated rate of €0.36 per day for 30 MB and additional use at €0.01 per MB. 

Bite (Bites karte)

If you are looking for a provider with a good coverage and 3G speeds of 900 MHz, then this is your provider. I should probably let you know that Bite is Latvia’s partner of Vodafone. However, if you purchase its prepaid services, you can only use them within Latvia. 

The Bites karte can only be purchased from their stores though you can recharge them Rimi, Maxima, Narvesen and Statoil shops. You can recharge your line for €1, €2, €3, €5 or €8. Bites Karte has two combo plans which are all-in-one packages available to its customers. 

These packages are valid for a month. The Bite Priekšapmaksa includes unlimited calls and SMS, and 100 MB data. It costs approximately €4.75.  The Bite Priekšapmaksa on the other hand, offers 100 mins and 100 SMS. It also has an additional 100 minutes and SMS to other European countries.  It costs roughly €6.75 per month.