Telecommunications

Telephone reached Lithuania after 6 years of the telephone invention – the first telephone line Kretinga-Plungė-Rietavas was installed among the manors of the duke Oginskis and the counts Tiškevičius and Zubovas in 1882.

The first phone exchanges were built in Klaipėda belonging to Germany at that time (in 1888; 23 subscribers), Vilnius (in 1896; 150 subscribers), and Kaunas (in 1904; 110 subscribers). The phone lines were installed in the districts of Panevėžys, Raseiniai, Šiauliai, Tešiai, and Zarasai before the World War I and during it, but most of them were destroyed or even annihilated by the retreating Kaiser army.

Therefore, the development of the phone network was one of the most important tasks of the independent Lithuanian State in 1918. In 1923 all centres of the districts already had the phone exchanges and could communicate with larger towns by direct lines. 508 phone exchanges (excluding the land of Vilnius) were operating in Lithuania in 1937.

25786 phone subscribers were registered in Lithuania in 1939.

The entire network of telecommunications was destroyed by the two waves of the World War II having overwhelmed Lithuania: the equipment was plundered and the main communications lines were destroyed. During the following ten years (1944-1954) the Lithuanian communications engineers managed to rebuild all equipment of the lines devastated during the war, and the operational phone communication between all district centres and the capital Vilnius was continuously functioning from that time.

A large-scale replacement of the technologies of the existing phone exchanges by automatic switching systems started in 1960. The number of phone subscribers increased significantly.

The first automatic long-distance phone exchange in the Baltic republics connecting Vilnius and Kaunas started to operate in 1963.

In 1992 automatic phone communication with the countries of Western Europe and Northern America via the switching exchange “Lintel” installed in Kaunas started to operate.

After the re-establishment of Lithuanian independence in 1990, the possibilities emerged to develop the communications network based on the newest communications technologies. The era of optical fibre cables started in 1992 when the first optical fibre cable main line was built between Kaunas and Vilnius. Especially rapid modernization of all Lithuanian telecommunications systems started when the State Enterprise ‘Lietuvos telekomas’ was founded in 1992.

The first radio station that started to broadcast (on 12 August 1926) was the radio station of Kaunas (Žaliakalnis). This was the first time when radio broadcastings were transmitted in Lithuania. This date is considered to be the birth date of the Lithuanian radiophony. The programme of the first radio broadcastings consistedof news, meteorological information and different concerts (the broadcasts were carried out for 1,5 hour period per day in 1926).

The first television broadcast was made on 30 April 1957 from the radio and television station of Vilnius. This was the beginning of the establishment and development period of the Lithuanian radio and television system.

Last updated: 28-07-2015