San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Claro breaks Costa Rican cellphone monopoly

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) officially has a foreign competitor in the national cellphone market. Claro, the brand name of Mexico-based telecommunications giant América Móvil, began offering cellphone service in Costa Rica on Saturday morning.

Claro began offering its service for the first time at locations in Heredia, Alajuela, Escazú and Tres Ríos.

Movistar, the moniker of Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica, is expected to launch its Costa Rican service later this week.

Prior to the passing of the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the U.S. on Jan. 1, 2009, ICE had been the only cellular service provider for more than 17 years.

Claro’s service is currently only available in the Central Valley, though its network is expected to expand in upcoming weeks once construction on several cellphone towers is completed.

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