San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Telecom Companies Find Flaws in Costa Rica’s Mobile Guidelines

The opening of the Costa Rican mobile phone market to private competition may encounter further delays after three participating telecommunications companies objected to guidelines presented by the Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL).

Earlier this month, SUTEL released a 200-page document outlining the requirements for private telecom companies to enter the Costa Rican market. Companies that purchased the document were given 45 days to offer comments or complaints regarding the document. To date, three companies – Cable & Wireless, Claro and Centennial Towers – have filed objections with Costa Rica’s Comptroller General’s Office, saying that the guidelines are technically insufficient and lack clarity in numerous areas.

“Three companies have submitted objections to the Comptroller’s General Office, which has until Oct. 6 to decide if the companies’ complaints are well-grounded,” Carolina Mora, a SUTEL spokeswoman, told The Tico Times. “At that time it will be determined whether the guidelines must be modified or whether the opening of the market will continue as originally planned.”

Mora said Tuesday that to date 34 companies had purchased the document containing the guidelines for market entry, only five of which – Digicel, Millicom, Telefónica, Cable & Wireless and América Móvil – are telecom service providers. Each of these five companies is expected to formally apply to participate in the Costa Rican cell phone market, presently a monopoly of state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). Three private companies eventually will be chosen by SUTEL to compete with ICE in offering cell phone service.

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