San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Claro makes flashy entrance in Costa Rica

Claro, the world’s third largest telecommunications company, is making sure Costa Rica takes notice of its arrival.

The company, which is operated by América Móvil based in Mexico, held its official launch event Thursday night at the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazú, west of San José. Amid movie screen-sized televisions, live music, magicians, smoke machines and executives from the company’s headquarters in Mexico, Claro kicked off its campaign in elegant fashion, as the formal event carried on into the late hours of the evening. Movistar, the local brand of Spanish company Telefónica, also entered the Costa Rican telecommunications market last week to compete with the government-run ex-monopoly, the Costa Rican Electricity Insitute (ICE).

“Costa Rican consumers have never had options in the telecommunications market, and we are more than happy to be kicking off an era that will provide them new choices,” Claro Costa Rica director Ricardo Taylor said. “Our focus will be customer service and providing new clients with a level of quality they have never had before from a Costa Rican provider.”

Taylor said that Claro will offer two-year post-paid plans with a 50 percent discount on monthly rates for the first 12 months.

“We think it will be the best deal on the market,” he said.

Taylor also announced that Claro will offer international calling rates for destinations in the U.S. and Canada for only ₡34/minute ($0.07). Calls made through Claro to the rest of Central America will cost ₡122/minute ($0.25). Currently, calls made through the ICE to North America cost ₡134/minute ($0.27).

On the periphery of the ballroom setting, many of the new mobile models Claro will offer were on display. Claro will offer the Samsung Galaxy SII2 and Ace models, considered to be rivals to the iPhone. In October, the Galaxy SII2 and Ace were banned from being sold in Europe when the International Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, ruled that the models were too similar to the iPhone.

Phone and mobile devices under the Sony Ericcson, Nokia, BlackBerry and Motorola labels will also be sold by Claro.

On Friday morning, Claro opened its first Costa Rican location in downtown San José, 100 meters east of the Costa Rica Social Security System building. The christening of the new location included a blessing from a Catholic priest, who sprinkled holy water on the store. Forty total Claro stores have opened in the Central Valley since last week’s inauguration.

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