Costa Rica - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

ICE merges Cable Visión with Kölbi brand

Since Costa Rica’s telecom sector was liberalised it has shown considerable growth in the number of subscribers for all services. Competition was slow to develop, leaving the state owned operator ICE with a monopoly for a number of years, though there is now effective competition in all sectors. ICE remains the dominant provider of fixed-line services, while its subsidiary RACSA offers broadband via cable modem and WiMAX services.

The number of fixed-lines has fallen in recent years, though the decline has been offset by growing consumer use of VoIP services. This has been stimulated by the recent hike in tariffs for fixed-line calls. The mobile market was liberalised in late 2011, and since then the major new competitors Claro and Movistar have captured a growing proportion of the market.

Costa Rica’s broadband market is the most developed in Central America, with the highest broadband penetration for this sub-region. Geographical distribution however is unequal, with a much higher digital gap than in the case of telephone services. Compared with the whole of Latin America, Costa Rica’s broadband penetration lags behind Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and some Caribbean islands.

The regulator has documented steady increase in overall telecom sector revenue in recent years, with a 17% growth in both 2012 and 2013, climbing to 34% in 2014. Fixed-line voice services accounted for about 5% of revenue in 2014 while revenue from VoIP services, though increasing sharply in recent years, accounted for only 1%. Total investment by operators was equal to 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while revenue accounted for 3% of GDP in 2014.

The Costa Rican telecom sector has showed greater resilience than most in the region, and with the implementation of number portability there is greater scope for increased competition in coming years.

The DTT market continues to develop, with the first digital broadcast made in 2012, though there are as yet few subscribers to the service. The switch to DTTV is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Key developments:

  • ICE unifies its two pay-TV operations under a single brand;
  • Sutel adopts LRIC model to calculate access and interconnection rates;
  • Claro launches triple play bundles;
  • Commercial LTE services gain geographic scope;
  • Full Móvil acquired by Grupo ICE;
  • Tigo rebrands all services as ‘Tigo Star’, extends satellite TV launches to Costa Rica and Honduras.
  • Anticipated spectrum auction to bolster reach of LTE;
  • Number Portability becomes available;
  • Report includes the regulator’s market data report for 2014; telcos’ financial and operating data updates to Q2 2015, recent market developments.

Key telecom parameters – 2015 (e)

Penetration of telecoms services:
Penetration
Fixed-line telephony
17.7%
Fixed broadband
11.6%
Mobile SIM (population)
152%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), RASCA, Tigo, Cable Tica.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Market analysis – latest developments
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Background
      • 4.1.1 General Telecommunications Law
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
      • 4.2.1 Sutel
    • 4.3 Government policies
      • 4.3.1 Sector liberalisation
    • 4.4 Universalisation fund (Fonatel)
    • 4.5 Interconnect
    • 4.6 Access
    • 4.7 Number Portability (NP)
    • 4.8 Tariffs
    • 4.9 DR-CAFTA
  • 5. Fixed network operators
    • 5.1 ICE
    • 5.2 Claro
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
    • 6.2 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
  • 7. International infrastructure
    • 7.1 Interconnection with other Central American countries
    • 7.2 Submarine cable networks
    • 7.3 Satellite networks
    • 7.4 Infrastructure developments
      • 7.4.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
    • 7.5 Smart infrastructure
  • 8. Wholesale
  • 9. Broadband market
    • 9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 9.1.1 Market analysis
      • 9.1.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 9.2.1 RACSA
    • 9.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 9.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
    • 9.5 Other fixed-line broadband services
      • 9.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiMAX, WiBro, Wi-Fi)
      • 9.5.2 Internet via satellite
    • 9.6 Digital Media
      • 9.6.1 Introduction
      • 9.6.2 Cable TV
      • 9.6.3 Satellite-based digital pay TV developments
      • 9.6.4 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 9.6.5 Key digital media players
      • 9.6.6 Video streaming
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market analysis – latest developments
      • 10.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 10.2 Mobile data
      • 10.2.1 SMS/MMS
    • 10.3 Mobile broadband
    • 10.4 Regulatory issues
      • 10.4.1 Spectrum auctions
      • 10.4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 10.4.3 Roaming
    • 10.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.5.1 Overview
      • 10.5.2 Digital networks
    • 10.6 Major mobile operators
      • 10.6.1 ICE (Kölbi, ICE Cellular)
      • 10.6.2 Claro (América Móvil)
      • 10.6.3 Movistar (Telefónica Costa Rica)
      • 10.6.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Costa Rica – 2015 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2014 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Evolution of GDP in Costa Rica – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 8 – Number of authorised telecom service operators – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 9 – Telecom sector revenue – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Revenue by sector – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Revenue market share by sector – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 12 – ICE financial data – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 13 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1997 - 2004
  • Table 14 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 15 – PSTN lines – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line telephony revenue by platform – 2011 - 2015
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line telephony and VoIP ARPU – 2011 - 2015
  • Table 18 – Fixed-line telephony traffic – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 19 – Average telephony traffic per subscriber (fixed-line and VoIP) – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 20 –International bandwidth – 2007 - 2014
  • Table 21 – Active VoIP subscriptions and penetration – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 22 –VoIP market share by operator – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 23 – VoIP services revenue– 2011 - 2015
  • Table 24 – Fixed-line broadband revenue and ARPU – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 25 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration – 1997 - 2004
  • Table 26 – Internet users and user penetration – 2005 - 2014
  • Table 27 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2000 - 2016
  • Table 28 – Historic - Broadband market share by technology – 2000 – 2009
  • Table 29 – Fixed-line internet traffic (DSL, HFC) – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 30 – Cable modem subscribers and household penetration – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 31 – ADSL subscribers and household penetration – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 32 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 33 – WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 34 – Subscription TV subscribers - 2010 - 2015
  • Table 35 – Subscription TV share by platform – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 36 – Subscription TV revenue by platform- 2011 - 2014
  • Table 37 – Market share of subscription TV subscribers by operator – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 38 – Cable TV subscribers and revenue - 2010 - 2012
  • Table 39 – Satellite TV subscribers and revenue - 2010 - 2014
  • Table 40 – DTTV subscribers - 2010 - 2014
  • Table 41 – IPTV subscribers and revenue - 2011 - 2014
  • Table 42 – Average traffic per mobile subscriber - 2011 - 2014
  • Table 43 – Mobile market share by operator - 2011 - 2014
  • Table 44 – Mobile market traffic - 2011 - 2016
  • Table 45 –Mobile revenue by service - 2011 - 2016
  • Table 46 –Proportion of mobile revenue by type - 2011 - 2016
  • Table 47 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1998 - 2004
  • Table 48 – Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2016
  • Table 49 – Proportion of prepaid and postpaid subscribers - 2010 - 2014
  • Table 50 – Prepaid and contract subscribers - 2010 - 2014
  • Table 51 – SMS and MMS traffic - 2011 - 2015
  • Table 52 – SMS/MMS revenue - 2011 - 2016
  • Table 53 – Mobile internet subscribers - 2009 - 2014
  • Table 54 – Mobile internet revenue - 2013 - 2014
  • Table 55 – Mobile internet traffic - 2013 - 2014
  • Table 56 – ICE mobile subscribers - 2013 - 2014
  • Table 57 – Claro mobile subscribers - 2013 - 2014
  • Table 58 – Movistar mobile subscribers - 2013 - 2014
  • Table 59 – MVNO mobile subscribers by provider - 2011 - 2014
  • Chart 1 – ICE financial data – 2010 – 2014
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2016
  • Chart 3 – Broadband subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2016
  • Chart 4 – Cable modem subscribers and household penetration – 2000 – 2015
  • Chart 5 – ADSL subscribers and household penetration – 2002 – 2015
  • Chart 6 – Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – ICE at a glance
  • Exhibit 2 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica

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