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Costa Rica - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband


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The Costa Rica - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation


Costa Rica’s telecom market is one of the most advanced in Central America. Despite the economic slowdown, mobile telephony is expected to grow strongly in 2009, as the state-owned incumbent ICE prepares to face competition by cornering as much as it can of the market.  

In fact, Costa Rica’s telecom industry is undergoing a sea change, following a new General Telecommunications Law (GTL) that is gradually implementing liberalisation. The GTL has been described as the most advanced legislation in Latin America in its approach to technological convergence.

  State-owned ICE and its subsidiary RACSA have been the monopoly providers of virtually all telecom services in Costa Rica except for pay TV. While ICE did better than most other Latin American operators in delivering basic fixed-line telephony, it proved inefficient in the provision of mobile phone services.

  Costa Rica’s fixed line teledensity is the highest in Latin America, only exceeded by some of the wealthier Caribbean islands. This is an impressive performance, and well beyond what could be expected given Costa Rica’s other economic indicators.  

Although it improved noticeably in 2008, penetration is still less than one would expect given Costa Rica’s relatively high GDP per capita. Postpaid fees in Costa Rica are extremely low, but ICE still does not offer prepaid mobile cards, so popular throughout Latin America.  

Costa Rica’s broadband market is the most advanced in Central America, with the highest broadband penetration for this sub-region.  

Key Highlights

  •       A new regulator, the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel), was created in January 2009 to navigate the telecom market into its new era of liberalisation. As soon as it was established, Sutel began to receive requests from companies interested in obtaining telecom concessions.
  •       A public spectrum auction has been scheduled for May 2010. Sutel expects the bidding process to begin in October 2009, and pre-qualified bidders to be announced in February 2010.
  •       To prepare for competition, ICE has contracted an agency to carry out an identity and corporate image study. The operator intends to adopt a new image and re-launch its mobile services under a new, trendier brand-name.
  •       In January 2009, Huawei won a contract to install a 3G mobile network for ICE, scheduled for launch by the fourth quarter of 2009.
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  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics Costa Rica - 2008
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2008
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2008
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2008
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2008
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF COSTA RICA'S TELECOM MARKET
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • BACKGROUND
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Sutel
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION
    • DR-CAFTA
    • GENERAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS LAW
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN COSTA RICA
    • ICE
      • RACSA
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1998 - 2008
      • Public payphones
        • Table Public payphones - 1998 - 2008
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Interconnection with other Central American countries
      • Submarine cable networks
        • Table Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica
    • INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS
      • Nationwide broadband network
      • IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • INTERNET MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Internet users and user penetration - 1998 - 2008
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Broadband subscribers and penetration - 2000 - 2008
      • Table Broadband market share by technology - 2002 - 2008
    • CABLE MODEMS
      • Table Cable modem subscribers and household penetration - 2000 - 2008
    • ASYMMETRICAL DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (ADSL)
      • Table ADSL subscribers and household penetration - 2002 - 2008
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • WiFi
      • WiMAX
      • Internet via satellite
  • CONVERGENCE
    • OVERVIEW OF MEDIA CONVERGENCE
    • CABLE TV
    • SATELLITE TV
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF COSTA RICA'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and technology - 2008
      • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1998 - 2008
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AND DATA SERVICES
      • Third generation (3G) mobile
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATOR
      • ICE

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