Costa Rica Telecoms Market Report

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Publication Date: March 2024

Report Pages: 177

Liberty Latin America completes acquisition of Movistar Costa Rica

In Aug 2021 Liberty Latin America (LLA) completed its acquisition of Telefónica Costa Rica (Movistar) — Costa Rica’s second-largest mobile network operator — for around $505 million. The deal followed on the heels of the failure of Millicom to buy Movistar earlier in the year, at a higher price. LLA’s local unit Cabletica will be able to combine its fixed telecom services with Movistar’s mobile offerings. A rebranding exercise is anticipated in 2022, with the Movistar brand likely to be phased out.

The fixed broadband market is one of the few parts of Costa Rica’s telecom sector to experience solid growth in recent years, both in size and revenue. The country’s fibre network expanded by 56% in 2020, reaching about 176,200km. Fixed-line broadband traffic volume also increased by more than 30%, year-on-year.

Other areas of the market have proven relatively lacklustre, with slow or even negative growth. Some of this can be attributed to the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, but the fixed-line and mobile sectors have both been struggling to produce decent results since well before the start of the crisis. The rollout of 5G network infrastructure in Costa Rica is unlikely to occur to any scale before 2023, but this may be one of the few remaining areas of opportunity open to investors outside of fixed-line internet and pay TV services.

Key developments

  • Liberty Latin America acquires Telefónica Costa Rica (Movistar) for $505 million.
  • Length of the national fibre network reaches about 176,200km.
  • Regulator prepares for multi-spectrum auction for 5G in 2022;
  • Mobile broadband penetration approaches 100%.
  • This report includes the regulator's market data for 2020, telcos' financial and operating data updates to Q3 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, and other recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Cabletica, Claro, Liberty Latin America, Movistar, RASCA, Telecable, Tigo

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