Latvia's Lattelecom starts a tet offensive, millennials miss the reference

Juris Kaža
5 min readOct 9, 2018

The Latvian entertainment and technology company soon to be once-known as Lattelecom has started a “tet” offensive, changing its name to tet. Lattelecom CEO Juris Gulbis announced this at a mass meeting of all soon-to-be tet employees at Arena Riga in the Latvian capital.

The company will also concentrate on three “ecosystems” (by which it means markets) — Home, Work and Data. Already, and as tet next spring, it will offer internet, TV and smart-home solutions to homes, business class internet, complete IT services, voice communications and data center services (overlapping with the Data ecosystem) to business, and a “data lake” of big data to be analyzed with artificial intelligence (AI), used for machine learning and provided as a service to tet and external business customers. Already Data monitors the behavior of several hundred thousand still-Lattelecom TV service users, giving a precise picture of consumer preferences (which broadcasts, archived programs etc. are watched, which commercials). Its data analysis resources are available for enterprise customers seeking to prepare marketing campaigns. There is some creepiness in this, as tet has and will continue to have massive data on Latvian habits and AI, as it improves, will also boost the creep factor. Just sayin’…

Lattelecom/tet CEO Juris Gulbis announces a “tet” offensive. He's not Ho Chi Minh (Photo: Lattelecom/tet)

The new (or repackaged) business model was nothing new to a few thousand Lattelecom employees in the sports arena, as most of them had spent the summer in groups discussing and preparing the changes, according to Mr. Gulbis.

Strange electrical roots for the new brand

A curious note — tet is already the brand name for Lattelecom’s electricity service, allowing home users to buy various electricity supply plans from the company. When announced, this was a surprise, as Lattelecom doesn’t generate electricity but buys it from the national grid, where most of it is produced by the state-owned Latvenergo or power-generators in the much-maligned feed-in tariff (abbreviated OIK in Latvian, used as almost an obscenity in the recent election campaign) program generating electricity from renewable sources. Why call your electricity off tet also wasn’t obvious, but Lattelecom sometimes does the strange…

Juris Kaža

A freelance journalist based in Riga, Latvia who has covered the country and region for 20 years. Speak native Latvian and English, fluent Swedish and German.