Sunday 1 October 2023

ICE loses mobile phone market share during pandemic

The State company decreased 10 percentage points in possession of cell lines compared to 2019; went from having 51% of the cell segment to controlling 41%

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30 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Kölbi, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) mobile phone brand, lost a 10 percentage point advantage in its share of the mobile telephony market during 2020, as confirmed by figures released this Wednesday by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel).

The State company decreased 10 percentage points in possession of cell lines compared to 2019; went from having 51% of the cell segment to controlling 41%.

In 2019, the Kölbi brand had 51% (4,375,000 subscriptions) of the market, while the Claro brand (Mexico’s América Móvil had 19% (1,616,000subscriptions); and the Movistar brand (Spain’s Telefónica) 30% (2,552,000 subscriptions).

Sutel indicated that this market closed with 7,512,000 subscriptions by 2020. Of these 41.1% (3,087,000) were Kölbi users, while Movistar grew to 38.6% (2,899,000), and Claro to 20.3% (1,524,000).

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The State’s company market loss is evident in both prepaid and postpaid subscriptions.

In 2019, Kölbi had 48.8% of prepaid subscriptions, while Claro had 17.7% and Movistar 35.5%.

At the end of 2020, on the other hand, ICE was in second place with 35%, while Claro grew to 19.9% and Movistar was at 45, 2% with which it assumed the leadership of that market.

Postpaid, the ICE ended 2019 with 57.3% of the market, while Claro with 21.8% and Movistar with 20.6%.

During 2020, Kölbi fell to 53.2%; Claro, for its part, had a slight decrease to 21.2% and Movistar grew to 25.4%.

Walther Herrera, Director of Markets at Sutel, explained that the mobile market suffered a contraction from 2019 to 2020, going from 8,550,000 active lines to 7,512,000, representing a 12% drop reported by operators.

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This also affected the penetration data of cell phones in Costa Rica. Instead of 169 cell lines per 100 inhabitants in 2019, the indicator remained at 150 by 2020.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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