It is expected by the end of  June cell phone number portability – the ability to change operator and keep the same number – will be a reality in Costa Rica. And best of all, there is no cost to the end user.

iPhone5-CEduardo Castellón, spokesperson for the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) – government regulator – said on Monday that the five operators, Kolbi (ICE), Movistar, Claro, Full Movil and Tuyo will be required to provide the Spanish company, El Corte Inglés, with a full list of their subscribers. The operators are also required to update the information on a regular basis.

Customers who want to transfer from one operator to the other only need to make a request and within three days the change is effective and all at no cost. Not one colón.

The cost to operate and maintain the number portability will be of the five operators, each having to pay US$7.000 monthly – total of US$35.000 – to El Corte Inglés. The Spanish company signed a seven year contract with the SUTEL to take in some US$2.9 million dollars.

In the works, according to Castellón, the operators are to provide their customer list in the next two months and the El Corte Inglés  put the system in operation within three months following.

With the advent of number portability competition between the operators is expected to grow, benefiting consumers with more deals and promotions.