San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Nicaragua Temporarily Unblocks Tico Calls

GRANADA, Nicaragua – As of lastMonday at midnight, the Nicaraguan statephone company Enitel has reestablishedconnections between Costa Rican phonelines and cell phones in Nicaragua, TheTico Times confirmed this week.The service had been blocked sinceDec. 7, 2004, effectively cutting off tensof thousands of Nicaraguan immigrantsand others who attempted to call Nicaraguancell phone numbers from Costa Rica.Enitel officials announced this weekthat the problem originated last June,when they informed the Costa RicanElectricity Institute (ICE), which is incharge of telecommunications services,that they were raising the price of internationalcalls to Nicaraguan cell phones by12 U.S. cents per minute.ICE refused to accept the tariff hike,and Enitel eventually blocked Costa Ricanservice last month.For the following month, both theCosta Rican and Nicaraguan phone companieswere vague about the origin of theproblem. Last week, a representative ofEnitel told The Tico Times that the phonetroubles were due to a “technical” glitchresulting from saturation of incominginternational calls. He assured that CostaRican calls were not being blocked, andsaid the problem would be resolved soon(TT, Jan. 21).The problem, however, apparently isnot still fully resolved.ICE and Enitel reportedly have onlyagreed to a temporary two-month reconnectionof phone services while they continueto negotiate the tariff hike.

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