(QCOSTARICA) Claro was the first, then followed by Movistar, to remove the mobile telephony barriers in Central America, eliminating “roaming” charges.
Both Claro and Movistar have service in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico, where users visiting other countries can now make and receive calls and text messages on their cellular phones at the rate established in their “home” country.
This applies also to sending and receiving emails, surfing the internet and chat, depending on the data plans subscription and available to prepaid, postpaid, consumer and business users.
The Spanish telecom, Movistar calls it service, “Movistar Sin Fronteras” (Movistar without borders). At Claro (owned by Mexico’s America Movil) their “Donde Estoy” (Where Am I) campaign asks consumers to guess where the user is, the idea that you can make and receive a call from anywhere in Central America.
ICE does not operate outside of Costa Rica’s borders. So, to combat the competition, it has been forced to form alliances with other operators in the region.
This situation is complex for ICE, who options include negotiating with Tigo, which has operations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Although Tigo operates cable and internet telephone in the country, it does not mobile telephone. At press time it was not known if ICE has set up an alliance in Nicaragua and Panama.
Definitely, the elimination of roaming charges is a bonus to users who travel extensively throughout the region, and being able to stay connected at rates as if they were at home.
International roaming in the region generated US$9 million dollars in income in 2014. Despite this, income from roaming voice calls has been decreasing, as users prefer texting and internet apps, which has been on the increase.