San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Telefónica and Claro receive go-ahead to enter Costa Rica’s telecom market

Claro and Telefónica, the first two private telecommunications companies to enter the Costa Rican telecommunications market, received Wednesday a contract endorsement from the Comptroller General’s Office (CGR) that allows the firms to start offering their services in the country as soon as the firms deposit their concession fees.

The deposit of the fees should take place in the next three days. Once the money is paid, both companies may start offering their services immediately. The companies will try to compete with state-run telecommunications monopoly the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, known as ICE.

Azules y Platas, the brand name that Spanish firm Telefónica will in Costa Rica, will pay a $95 million concession fee for using 850, 1800 and 2100 MHz frequencies for cell phone services. Claro, a subsidiary of Mexican-based America Móvil, paid its $75 million fee for using the 1800 and 2100 MHz frequencies Thursday morning.

The concession payments will be deposited into the National Telecommunications Fund, an agency in charge of funding telecommunications projects in areas where profitability is low for private companies.

Both companies will be able to use their respective frequencies for 15 years. Companies must pay their dues to the Social Security System, or else their concessions could be revoked.

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