ICE to give Costa Rican TDMA owners new phones

January 5, 2011

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) could be giving away late Christmas presents to the estimated 39,000 remaining users of TDMA technology phones. According to a statement from ICE, all users that have TDMA phones have the “possibility” to receive a free phone if they elect to move to GSM or 3G network services this month. TDMA is an outdated, basic network that’s being phased out in Costa Rica.

“ICE is contacting the clients that remain on the TDMA network and is offering them the ease of receiving a free new phone if they move to GSM and 3G technologies,” the statement read.

The statement said that ICE is trying to move all clients to 3G or GSM service by the end of the month, with the hope of disconnecting the TDMA network by February. The statement deemed that TDMA service, which was created in 1995, is now “obsolete”, and that only 39,000 of ICE’s estimated 3 million clients still use the technology.

According to the statement, customers that make the switch to 3G or GSM can retain the same phone numbers they had on the TDMA service.

In December, Mexican-owned America Móvil and Spain’s Telefónica bid to compete in the national cellular telephone market, which was opened for competition by the passing of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the U.S. (CAFTA) on Jan. 1, 2009. Both companies are anticipated to enter the market this year and will compete with ICE, which held a state-run monopoly over the telecommunications market for several decades.  

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