Thursday 30 November 2023

Fixed telephony in Costa Rica heading for extinction

In four years, users went from 833 thousand to 556 thousand; 12.5% drop last year alone

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30 November 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The greeting “Good morning! You are calling the Castro Valerio family home”, is in danger of disappearing, as fixed telephony services installed in Costa Rican homes continue their path to extinction, impacted by mobile telephony.

In the last four years, the number of subscribers to the fixed telephony service in Costa Rica went from 833 thousand to 556 thousand, that is, a fall of more than 33%. Shuttestock

Proof of this is that this service registered a 12.5% ​​drop in its number of subscribers compared to 2019, going from just over 636,000 to just 556,000 last year, almost 80,000 fewer lines.

That phenomenon has been consistent in the last four years, where the number of subscriptions went from 833 thousand to 556 thousand, that is, a fall of more than one third.

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All this despite the advent of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which offers calls through broadband connections through coaxial cable or fiber optics.

The VoIP service presents the same downward behavior in the number of subscriptions, going from almost 65 thousand in 2019 to just over 52 thousand last year, which means a decrease of 19.19% compared to the previous year.

Regarding the level of concentration in the national fixed telephony market, which includes traditional basic service and VoIP, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) has a monopoly in the provision of the service.

These figures come from the Informes Estadísticas del Sector de Telecomunicaciones Costa Rica 2020 (Costa Rica 2020 Telecommunications Sector Statistics Report) presented by the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) – Superintendency of Telecommunications.

In contrast, the report indicates that in 2020 there were 7,512,370 subscribers of mobile telephony, which in itself turns out to be in reduction mode, 12.1% in fact over 2019, the largest decrease reported in the historical series for mobile telephony in the country.

Unlike fixed telephony, ICE, under the “Kolbi” brand, has competition in the mobile telephony market in the country with a 41.1% share, followed by Movistar with 38.6% and Claro with a 20.3% share.

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The popularity of mobile telephony is such that more and more Costa Ricans cancel basic telephone service in their homes. One of the pluses of mobile telephony over fixed line is the possibility of making and receiving calls through WhatsApp.

The trend of fixed lines in Costa Rica in the last four years:

  • In 2016 there were 833,000 fixed line subscribers
  • In 2017 there were 808,000
  • In 2018 there were 763,000
  • In 2019 there were 636,000
  • And, in 2020 there were 556,000

Download the 296-page report in pdf format here.

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