Costa Rican telecoms monopoly ICE has put back plans to sell 200,000 new GSM connections in October, and now expects to have the lines available for mobile customers by the end of the year. The sale is part of a plan to increase ICE’s GSM network capacity by a total of 600,000 connections. Swedish vendor Ericsson was due to finish installing 50 new base stations by 5 September but a progress report at the end of last month showed that it had only begun work on a third of the sites. In addition, ICE’s purchase of up to a million mobile phone chips has been held up by legal problems surrounding two suppliers that participated in the contract tender. Costa Rica completely ran out of mobile connections at the end of 2004 and ICE has sold off several batches of delinquent accounts this year in an attempt to meet some of the country’s pent-up demand.
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