End of the ICE age? MNP due by end-2012

14 Jun 2012

Costa Rican regulator the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) has announced plans to implement mobile number portability (MNP) by the end of 2012, or early 2013. The watchdog will select a company to manage the service by the end of August and the company will be given three months for infrastructure work, followed by a month of testing. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Sutel originally planned to have MNP available when it ended the monopoly of incumbent operator ICE Celular last year but chose to delay its implementation when the regulator failed to decide how to distribute the costs. MNP is expected to shake up the market further and level the playing field for the market’s two newest entrants, Mexican-backed Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica. Even without MNP, the new players – backed by Latam heavyweights America Movil and Telefonica – have begun eating into ICE’s customer base: in the first three months of 2012 alone, ICE lost more than 400,000 subscribers to the new operators, reducing its market share from 93.1% to 87.8%.

In other Costa Rica news, Sutel has invited interested companies to take part in a preliminary hearing to receive comments prior to the watchdog’s launching of a tender for ‘Monitoring and Managing the National Spectrum’. The regulator is inviting comments on the draft tender until 25 June.

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