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Telecoms IP Networks and Digital Media - Insights and Statistics - Costa Rica

Costa Rica - Telecoms IP Networks and Digital Media - Insights and Statistics

Number Portability becomes operational

Since the market was liberalised, Costa Rica's telecom sector has shown considerable growth in the number of subscribers, revenue and competition. The internet market is particularly vibrant, with emerging fibre broadband deployment, while consumer use of VoIP services has been stimulated by the recent hike in tariffs for fixed-line calls. The mobile market was liberalised in late 2011, and by the end of 2013 the major new competitors Claro and Movistar had captured about 20% of the market.

State-owned ICE remains the dominant provider of fixed-line services, while its subsidiary Racsa offers broadband via cable modem and WiMAX services.

Costa Rica's broadband market is the most developed in Central America, with the highest broadband penetration for this sub-region. Geographical distribution however is unequal, with a much higher digital gap than in the case of telephone services. Compared with the whole of Latin America, Costa Rica's broadband penetration lags behind Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and some Caribbean islands.

The DTT market is underway, with the first digital broadcast in 2012. The switch to DTTV is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Key telecom parameters 2014 (e)

Penetration of telecoms services: | Penetration

Fixed-line telephony | 19.5%

Fixed broadband | 10.9%

Mobile SIM (population) | 133.4%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market highlights:

Internet access is increasingly dominated by the mobile sector, which in early 2013 accounted for 67% of all internet accesses, compared to 37% a year earlier.

Sutel has adopted the Long Run Incremental Costs (LRIC) model to calculate access and interconnection rates between operators. All network operators in Costa Rica must grant interconnection to other network operators on a non-discriminatory and transparent basis.

The first companies to reach access/interconnection agreements with ICE, in 2010, were cable TV company Tigo, public telephone operator BBG Global AG, and three VoIP providers: Ticom, CallMyWay, and Intertel Worldwide. Tigo was finally able to launch its own cable modem service, becoming the operator to offer internet access in competition with the incumbent.

ICE's prepaid service recycled the accounts of GSM customers that migrated to 3G, but even the number of lines has since proved insufficient.

In late 2013 Fonatel received bids from telcos to deliver broadband and fixed telephony services to over 200,000 people. The projected is budgeted at $20 million.

Voice tariffs were increased by 83% in late 2013, which has encouraged the rapid growth in VoIP services.

ICE in 2013 launched a limited LTE service in late 2013 using the 2600MHz band.

ICE finalised its acquisition of 100% of CableVision at the end of 2013, reinforcing its interest in the cable TV market.

The telecom sector is showing steady growth, with revenue reaching C$510 billion in 2012;

Claro and Movistar launch commercial LTE services;

Full Móvil acquired by Grupo ICE;

Tigo rebrands all services as Tigo Star', extends satellite TV launches to Costa Rica and Honduras.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Costa Rica's telecommunications market. With its long-awaited liberalisation, Costa Rica is an attractive market for telecom investors. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;

Facts, figures and statistics;

Industry and regulatory issues;

Infrastructure;

Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;

Internet, IPTV;

Mobile voice and data markets;

Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);

Convergence and Digital Media;

Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

Number Portability becomes available, ICE, Claro and Movistar all now operating LTE services; Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica granted extension to network rollout deadline; Millicom extends satellite TV service to Costa Rica; regulator considers flat rate charge for mobile internet data use; report includes the regulator's first market data report, covering 2010 to 2012; telcos' financial and operating data updates to Q4 2013; market developments to mid-2014.

Companies covered in this report include:

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), RASCA, Tigo, Cable Tica.

This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Costa Rica.

It provides further information on:

Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
ARPU statistics and forecasts.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Country overview
3.1.1 General outlook
3.2 Overview of Costa Rica's telecom market
3.3 Market analysis
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.1.1 General Telecommunications Law
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 Sutel
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
4.4 Universalisation fund (Fonatel)
4.5 Interconnect
4.6 Access
4.7 Number Portability (NP)
4.8 Tariffs
4.9 DR-CAFTA
5. Fixed network operator in Costa Rica
5.1 ICE
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
6.2.2 Submarine cable networks
6.2.3 Satellite networks
6.3 Infrastructure developments
6.3.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
6.4 Smart metering
7. Wholesale
8. Broadband market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Broadband statistics
8.2 Cable modems
8.2.1 Racsa
8.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.4 Fibre
8.5 Wireless broadband
8.5.1 WiMAX
8.5.2 Internet via satellite
8.5.3 Mobile broadband
8.6 Digital Media
8.6.1 Overview
8.6.2 IPTV (Broadband TV)
9. Broadcasting
9.1 Cable TV
9.1.1 Tigo
9.1.2 Cable Tica
9.2 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
9.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Costa Rica's mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 Spectrum auction
10.2.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.3 Mobile technologies and data services
10.3.1 Overview
10.3.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks (UMTS)
10.3.3 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
10.4 Major mobile operator
10.4.1 ICE
10.4.2 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
10.5 Mobile voice services
10.5.1 Prepaid
10.6 Mobile data services
10.6.1 SMS/MMS
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Costa Rica 2013 (e)
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2014 (e)
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2014 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector revenue 2010 - 2014
Table 8 Revenue market share by sector 2011 - 2012
Table 9 Evolution of GDP in Costa Rica 2000 - 2013
Table 10 ICE financial data 2010 - 2013
Table 11 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1997 - 2004
Table 12 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 - 2014
Table 13 International bandwidth 1997 - 2012
Table 14 Active VoIP subscriptions 2010- 2014
Table 15 Fixed-line internet market share of subscribers by operator 2012
Table 16 Fixed-line and mobile broadband revenue 2011- 2012
Table 17 Fixed-line and mobile broadband ARPU 2011- 2012
Table 18 Historic - Internet users and user penetration 1997 - 2004
Table 19 Internet users and user penetration 2005 - 2014
Table 20 Broadband subscribers and penetration 2000 - 2014
Table 21 Broadband market share by technology 2000 - 2009
Table 22 Cable modem subscribers and household penetration 2000 - 2014
Table 23 ADSL subscribers and household penetration 2002 - 2014
Table 24 Fibre broadband subscribers 2010 - 2014
Table 25 WiMAX subscribers 2009 - 2014
Table 26 Mobile internet subscribers - 2010 - 2014
Table 27 Mobile internet market share of subscribers by operator 2012
Table 28 Cable TV subscribers and revenue - 2010 - 2012
Table 29 Market share of cable TV subscribers by operator 2010 - 2012
Table 30 Mobile revenue by service - 2011 - 2012
Table 31 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1998 - 2004
Table 32 Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2014
Table 33 Market share of subscribers by operator - 2011 - 2012
Table 34 Proportion of prepaid and postpaid subscribers - 2010 - 2012
Table 35 Prepaid and contract subscribers - 2010 - 2012
Table 36 SMS and MMS traffic - 2010 - 2012
Chart 1 ICE financial data 2010 2013
Chart 2 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 2014
Chart 3 Broadband subscribers and penetration 2000 2014
Chart 4 Cable modem subscribers and household penetration 2000 2014
Chart 5 ADSL subscribers and household penetration 2002 2014
Chart 6 Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 2014
Exhibit 1 ICE at a glance
Exhibit 2 Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica

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