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Internet, telephone and post-office
Internet, phone and e-mail. As a developed country of the European Union, all modern communication services are available in Latvia. Communications are developed in Latvia – it has one of the fastest Internet speeds in the world and mobile connections are available throughout almost the entire territory, there are ATMs in all cities and it is possible to pay by credit card.
Research on Internet development in the world indicates that Latvia has the fifth fastest Internet speeds in the world – in Latvia at the end of 2009, the average Internet speed was 6.2 Mbps. Internet connections have been provided to all populated areas of Latvia; Internet cafes in cities are popular and charge starting from LVL 0.50 (EUR 0.70) per hour. Free Internet connections are available in all libraries, both in Riga and in outlying counties.
On the Internet
WiFi is also available in Latvia and is offered by many hotels. WiFi connections are also available in various public places – cafes, hotels, business centres, the airport and bus terminals – just look for the WiFi sign. Mobile Internet is very convenient for travellers and is available in 98 % of the territory of Latvia. The service is provided by several mobile and Internet companies; you need only to buy a modem and connection card. The fee for a mobile Internet connection starts at LVL 5 /month and it can be purchased at any customer service centre of mobile and Internet connection operators. Moreover, the mobile Internet in Latvia is no slower than stationary Internet.
On Phone Communications
There are both fixed and mobile phone communications available in Latvia. The international telephone code for Latvia is +371 and all phone numbers (except for emergency and specialised information and service hotlines) consist of 8 digits. One should note that all mobile phone numbers start with “2”, landline numbers start with “6”, various charity organisation lines start with “900”, paid informative lines start with “81” and toll-free lines with “800”; however, calls to paid lines starting with “909” can cost up to several lats a minute.
There is developed network of mobile services in Latvia and consist of three operators that provide mobile communications (LMT, Tele2, Bite). Mobile connections are available in almost the entire territory of Latvia. If a mobile phone owner arriving in Latvia does not have an international connection, it is possible to buy prepaid cards for calls in the GSM network to make calls both in Latvia and abroad. The package of the prepaid card includes a SIM card with a paid advance payment with various terms (from 7 - 300 days, depending on the card type and price), a phone number, PIN and PUK codes and an instruction manual. Prepaid cards (Okarte, Amigo, Zelta zivtiņa) can be purchased in press kiosks and shops, petrol stations, Latvia Post), mobile phone operator customer service centres, mobile phones retail locations, etc.
More than 3 800 public payphones are available in Latvia, from which one can call using phone cards. and combined payphones where you can use both money and phone cards and VISA and Eurocard/MasterCard credit cards.
Of course, postal services are also available in Latvia. There are Latvia Post branches in all cities and populated areas of Latvia. At the post offices, one can send letters, postcards, packages, parcels, small packages, as well as make different payments, money transfers, etc. Stamps for postcards cost LVL 0.45 to Europe and LVL 0.50 to other countries; letters cost LVL 0.50 to Europe and LVL 0.55 to other countries. The average sending time to European countries is 5 to 7 days, and 10 to 14 days to other countries. There are also currier companies in Latvia, such as DHL, TNT, UPS, EMS, Federal Express and Auto pasts (Car post).