Telecompaper | 23 January 2023
Bite Latvia shareholder appeals to govt over 5G action by regulator SPRK
The US-based company Providence Equity Partners, a shareholder of operator Bite Latvia, has sent a letter to Latvian prime minister Krisjanis Karins, reports Db.lv. It claims that certain actions by national public service regulator SPRK indicate a possible violation of the bilateral investment promotion and mutual protection agreement between the US and Latvian governments.
If no resolution is reached through consultations and negotiations with the Latvian government, the US investor plans to appeal to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) with a claim against the Latvian state for delaying the development of strategically important infrastructure.
Providence Equity Partners is a controlling shareholder of Bite Latvia as well as of the company Unistars. Unistars uses a radio frequency spectrum band obtained from the state 20 years ago, which could be used for the implementation of 5G technology. Because the Bite Group’s company already held the 3.6 GHz frequency band, which is critically necessary for the development of 5G, auction conditions prevented Bite from participating in auctions for 5G bands in 2017 and 2018, and the auctioned 3.6 GHz spectrum was allocated to other market players.
At the moment, in order for Bite Latvia and Unistars to be able to jointly use the frequencies required for the implementation of 5G technology in the 3.6 GHz spectrum, permission from SPRK is required. The term of the decision has been extended three times.