San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Study shows competition good for Costa Rica's telecom market

More than 40 percent of cellphone users in Costa Rica own smartphones, according to a study by consulting firm Demoscopía, conducted for Costa Rica’s Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL).

According to a SUTEL spokesman, this is the first time the agency has solid data on the number of cellphone users in the country.

The study results, released Monday, also show that 80 percent of smartphones in the country have Internet connections above 1 Mbps, and most users are satisfied with their current carriers. Just under 77 percent of all respondents said they have no problems with their mobile and Internet services.

User satisfaction with the country’s five telecom carriers ranged from 71-82 percent.

Local carrier Fullmóvil obtained the best results with an 82 percent satisfaction rate, followed by the Tico company Tuyo Móvil (77 percent), Mexico’s Claro (79 percent), Spain’s Movistar (78 percent) and state-owned ICE-Kolbi (71 percent).

The survey was conducted during the last quarter of 2013 of a sample of 5,038 active users 15 and older, and at least 1,000 users per operator were surveyed.

The study has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of ± 1.38 percent.

According to a SUTEL report last September, digital mobile penetration in Costa Rica increased from 69 percent in 2010 to 116 percent – 5.5 million cellphone lines – in 2013. In 2010, Costa Rica adopted legislation to allow private carriers to compete with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute for cellphone services.

According to this study, competition has been good for Costa Rican cellphone customers.

Contact L. Arias at

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