Photo for illustrative purposes. Jorge Navarro, La Nacion
Photo for illustrative purposes. Jorge Navarro, La Nacion

(QCOSTARICA) If the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) – Superintendency of Telecommunications –  proposal is approved, starting in December postpaid mobile phone services and fixed Internet would be without tariff regulation, as announced by the state regulator on Friday.

The change would open up competition in those markets, as well as in the international calling and roaming telephony.

Thus, operators could improve (lower) prices to their customers, putting them below the floor rate in force today or, if they judge commercially appropriate, raise the cost above any cap still in rigor.

From a statement issued by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel):

The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel), has started a process of public consultation of the technical analysis of the telecommunications markets.

In this technical proposal 11 new telecommunications markets are defined at the national level. Having identified these markets the level of competition prevailing in each of them was analyzed.


Despite a competitive market, services remain under control in terms of quality, confirmed the Sutel.

According to the figures presented in the last report by the Sutel, 59% of mobile traffic comes from prepaid, but postpaid users consume on average almost three times more than prepaid users.

Impact on Mobile Internet

One implication of this change is that operators would also be free to define how to charge data traffic for its postpaid customers.

Currently, users who consume more mobile Internet have a postpaid service. With the change rates would be unregulated, meaning users could face sharp increases or possible dicreases.

Data traffic use increased 209% from 2013 to 2015 due to the change in user habits, which currently uses more based on mobile Internet for Apps and messaging systems such as: WhatsApp, Waze, Spotify, Instagram, Facebook and Netflix, among others.

In 2014, 37,965 terabytes (Tb) was consumed over mobile networks, while in 2015 the figure almost doubled to 74,933 Tb.

The Sutel proposal (in Spanish) can be found at https://sutel.go.cr/audiencias/publicas, file number GCO-DGM-MRE-01553-2016.

By The Numbers

At the close of 2015, there were 7.5 million mobile services subscribers, up 7% over 2014. The increase was both in postpaid and prepaid (6% and 11%) respectively, according to Sutel statistics.

Prepaid continues to be the preferred mode users in the country, 79% of all users, while 21% for postpaid. These figures remain unchanged since 2012 when the mobile telephone market opened up/

As to distribution of by the number of subscribers, Kolbi (ICE) remains the single largest operator with a 58% market share, followed by Movistar (Spain’s Telefonica) with 22% and Claro (Mexico’s America Movil) with 19%. Resellers Tuyo Movil and Full Movil had a 1% market share.

In postpaid users, the Kolbi brand owns the market with 71%, Claro coming in second with 19% and Movistar with 10%.

Source: La Nacion