QCOSTARICA – Mobile (cellular) phone users in Costa Rica talked less by phone but almost doubled data consumption in 2015, soaring by percent 97% over 2014, according to a report from the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel).
In 2014, users in Costa Rica consumed 37,965 TB, in 2015 had moved over the mobile network the equivalent of 74,933 TB. In contrast, consumption of voice minutes (cellular calls) fell 9% year to year.
The increase in mobile data consumption is directly related to the rise of 82% in subscriptions to mobile Internet users. In 2012, when there were 2.6 million Internet subscriptions, in 2015 they amounted to 4.8 million. This means that there are 101 mobile internet services per 100 inhabitants.
Walther Herrera, director of Markets at the Sutel, also reported that last year there were 7.536 million mobile phone lines. This represents a 156% penetration.
According to the Sutel figures, ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad), operating the Kolbi brand had 52% stake in the mobile Internet market, while Claro and Movistar were 26% and 21% respectively.
Although ICE continues to be the leading mobile operator it has dropped market share, until last year holding 58% of the market.
Meanwhile, Claro Costa Rica that had 1,114,000 lines in 2014 (16% market share) grew to 1,414,000 (270,000 additional lines) at the end of last year, the company now owning 19% of the mobile market.
Movistar closed 2014 with 1,431,000 lines placing it a 20% of the market that year. By 2015, it increased its users to 1,677,000 (246,000 additional) reaching 22% of the entire market.
The Sutel may soon allow operators to start charging post-paid users per data download rather than via a flat rate.