Information and communications technology

ICT development tendencies are a path to new opportunities. It is great that this progressive sector – information and communications technology (ICT) – is one of the fastest-growing industries in Latvia. It does not take us by surprise as Latvia beats many other countries. It has the 16th fastest internet speed in the world (Cable, 2019) and is the 3rd country for mobile usage (16.9 GB) in the OECD countries (OECD Broadband Portal, 2019) as well as one of the first countries to implement a 5G network.

Historically, Latvia has had a reputation for being a research and development hub in the ICT industry, which has led to the fact that currently, we are the largest ICT exporters in the Baltics. Over the past few years, computer programming and information services have increased their share because the IT industry is merging with other business disciplines and acting as a catalyst for growth and innovations. Latvia’s telecommunication companies, cooperating with the IT sector, are working on 5G and other Smart city solutions.

 

Main subsectors 
IT support, Telecom, Software development, Cloud solutions, AI, Automation & Robotics.

Fast facts

  • It takes maturity to be a leader. Latvia ranks fourth as the country in the EU with the highest maturity in e-government, according to the European Commission (EC) annual eGovernment Benchmark. We are also 5th in the EU in the quality and usage of digital public services.
  • Latvia is amongst the first countries globally to implement the 5G network. We are 7th in Europe in the 5G Readiness Index and 1st among Baltic countries! What does it even mean? Imagine uninterrupted 5G coverage for all urban areas and main terrestrial transport paths. 5G use cases include mobility, drones, public safety, big data, and AI.
  • As we have premium, high-speed internet available in our country, our people love it and use it in leaps and bounds. The statistics show that 84% of the Latvian population use the internet daily. We are 4th in the EU in households using only mobile broadband at home (2019) and 6th in the EU in high-capacity network coverage (% of households in 2019).

Industry statistics

  • There is a healthy competition between the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. With more than 1b ICT export value, Latvia is the leader in exporting ICT in the Baltic States.
  • As ICT is one of the fastest-growing industries in Latvia, sometimes the local workforce is not enough. Therefore 1121 working permits were issued for foreign IT professionals in 2019.
  • The ICT sector contributes to technological progress, output, and productivity growth. In Latvia, the ICT industry demonstrates 30% profit growth YoY. In our country, we observe 9% added value growth YoY. ICT sector contributes 4.3% of total GDP.

Employment and education

  • Digitalization and ICT are changing our everyday lives and creating new opportunities for both businesses and employees. There are 37k people employed in the ICT sector in Latvia, and a growing number of ICT enterprises – 6996 in 2019!
  • ICT specialists are in demand throughout the world. Latvia can help filling out those vacancies as it is #1 in Europe in terms of ICT students per 1 M population. Our students are technologically savvy, digital-natives, so no wonder that 11% of all first-year students choose to study ICT, 63% of those are in computer sciences. If you want to pursue higher education in Latvia, you can choose one of 52 higher education institutions with an 80k student pool. Brilliant and progressive, ICT students take up 8900 out of this 80k student pool. 
  • We always look for best practices and implement them whenever we can. The University of Latvia (LU) and Riga Technical University (RTU), in cooperation with the Buffalo University (the USA), developed the Baltic IT Leaders Excellence Bachelor Program in Computer Science and Organizational Technology. ICT study programmes are comprehensive and forward-thinking, allowing students to study robotics, Big data analysis, AI, cybersecurity, telecommunications, and electronics.

Industry leaders

  • SAF tehnika is one of the world’s leading producers of microwave point-to-point radios and field-optimized portable spectrum analyzers, and 99% of the company’s production is being exported to more than 130 countries worldwide.
  • Tet is one of the most experienced companies in Europe, providing integrated and innovative solutions in IT, telecommunications, and outsourced business processes. Besides that, Tet develops such projects as Claara, the first TV advertising and large-scale audience analytics online tool in the Baltics, and manages a launch platform Overkill for start-ups and more.
  • LMT is a mobile telecommunications operator and market leader in Latvia, currently amongst the most efficient mobile data network providers and 5G implementers worldwide. LMT has been recognized internationally as Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough, European 5G Pioneer, and nominated in Global Mobile Awards 2019 among such companies as Deutsche Telecom, Verizon, and Ericsson.
  • MikroTik provides hardware and software for Internet connectivity in most countries worldwide, for example, for Mitsubishi Motors, Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, Ericsson, Motorola, and is even present in Mount Everest and used for travels to Mars. World Intellectual Property Organization has awarded MikroTik with WIPO IP Enterprise Trophy for innovative use of the IP system by the enterprise and successful corporate strategies for promoting respect for IP.
  • Zabbix is one of the most demanded monitoring products in IT globally, used in Brazilian bank security systems, Japanese machine making, and world-known telecommunication companies, large retailers, airports, and ministries. The company has managed to reach clients without much investment in marketing because Zabbix speaks for itself.
  • Tilde provides localization services, develops custom machine translation systems, and offers online terminology tools for a wide range of languages - even Facebook and Skype use Tilde’s virtual assistants. For three consecutive years, Tilde has won the “Olympics” of machine translation technology – the WMT 2019 competition.
  • Lightspace technologies are global leaders in multi-focal accommodating 3D AR headsets and glasses-free future 3D image displays. The main areas for 3D image technologies are medical data 3D visualization, such as real-time 3D microscopy, image-guided surgery, diagnostics, airspace, and mission control with 3D visualization. Car wind-screen 3D heads-up displays (HUD), gaming, and augmented reality 3D headsets also use it.

Read why they have chosen Latvia

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