4G mobile network available in Costa Rica in March; iPhone customers will have to wait

June 26, 2014

The state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) on Wednesday presented contract options for new 4G LTE mobile network services under its trademark Kölbi.

The new platform will allow mobile broadband Internet connections at speeds up to 10 times faster than those offered by the current Third Generation (3G) mobile network, making it easier to download files, play games, surf the web or watch videos (or live-stream protests).

The telecommunications company announced three service options beginning on March 13: two monthly contracts and one pay-by-the-day.

Monthly contracts allow connections with speeds of 6 and 10 Megabytes per second (Mbps) at a cost of ₡10,000 ($18) and ₡27,000 ($50), respectively. The daily plan allows 6 Mbps connections at a per-day price of ₡3,000 ($5.50).

ICE is offering special promotions, among them an option for the first 10,000 customers who sign a contract to use the 10 Mbps plan for free for 30 days.

To activate a 4G network customers first must verify they are within the coverage area using a map at ICE’s website: kolbi.cr

Customers must then check current smartphone settings to confirm that devices allow 4G connections operating in the LTE band 7 (2,600 Mhrz on the phone). Videos explaining setup procedures for each phone can be found here.

Currently the network operates on 4G smartphones from Samsung, Huawei, Blackberry and Lumia.

“We currently are coordinating with Apple to offer the service on iPhones, which is likely to occur in April,” Kölbi Marketing Director Danny Salas said at a press conference.

Once the phone accepts the new LTE configuration, the final step is to activate a new network by sending a text message with the word 4GLTE6 to 6060.

“If an ICE customer needs to use the 4G LTE network outside the coverage area, the smartphone automatically will return to the Third Generation Network or 3G,” Salas added.

Claro and Movistar, the two biggest private carriers in Costa Rica, have said they will offer 4G network services, although they have not specified a date the service will become available.

For detailed information on the new network and contract plans, visit ICE’s website (Spanish only).

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