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

Executive summary

Costa Rica sees consolidation in the cable telecom sector

Costa Rica’s liberalised telecom sector has seen substantial growth in all sectors in recent years. Although the state-owned operator ICE remains the dominant provider of fixed-line services, the regional operators Claro and Movistar are significant players in the important mobile services market.

The number of fixed-lines fell for a number of years though more recently the decline has been offset by growing consumer use of VoIP services. This was stimulated by the 2014 hike in tariffs for fixed-line calls.

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.

There was a steady increase in overall telecom sector revenue for a number of years, peaking at 24% 2014 though this has since fallen, being a more moderate 4.2% in 2016 and 3% in 2017. Fixed-line voice services account for about 5% of revenue while revenue from VoIP services, though increasing sharply in recent years, still accounts for only 1%.

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

Key developments:

  • ICE secures access to Telia Carrier’s Central America backbone network;
  • Movistar and Claro secure licenses at auction;
  • Liberty Latin America (LLA) acquires an 80% stake in Cabletica;
  • ICE investing more in multi-technology NGN project;
  • Coopesantos launches FttP services in areas of San Pablo, San Marcos and Santa Maria;
  • Regulator adopts LRIC model to calculate access and interconnection rates;
  • Report includes the regulator’s market data reports for 2017; telcos’ financial and operating data updates, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis – latest developments
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Background
      • 5.1.1 General Telecommunications Law
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
      • 5.2.1 Sutel
    • 5.3 Government policies
      • 5.3.1 Sector liberalisation
    • 5.4 Universalisation Fund (Fonatel)
    • 5.5 Interconnect
    • 5.6 Access
    • 5.7 Number Portability (NP)
    • 5.8 Tariffs
    • 5.9 DR-CAFTA
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 ICE
    • 6.2 Claro
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 National telecom network
    • 7.2 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)
  • 8. International infrastructure
    • 8.1 Terrestrial networks
    • 8.2 Submarine cable networks
    • 8.3 Satellite networks
    • 8.4 Infrastructure developments
      • 8.4.1 IP and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
    • 8.5 Smart infrastructure
  • 9. Wholesale
  • 10. Broadband market
    • 10.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 10.1.1 Market analysis
      • 10.1.2 Broadband statistics
    • 10.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 10.2.1 RACSA
    • 10.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 10.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
    • 10.5 Other fixed-line broadband services
      • 10.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiMAX, WiBro, Wi-Fi)
      • 10.5.2 Internet via satellite
  • 11. Mobile communications
    • 11.1 Market analysis
      • 11.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 11.2 Mobile data
      • 11.2.1 SMS/MMS
    • 11.3 Mobile broadband
    • 11.4 Regulatory issues
      • 11.4.1 Spectrum auctions
      • 11.4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 11.4.3 Roaming
    • 11.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.5.1 Overview
      • 11.5.2 Digital networks
    • 11.6 Major mobile operators
      • 11.6.1 ICE (Kölbi, ICE Cellular)
      • 11.6.2 Claro (América Móvil)
      • 11.6.3 Movistar (Telefónica Costa Rica)
      • 11.6.4 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Costa Rica – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Costa Rica – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 3 – Number of authorised telecom service operators – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Telecom sector revenue and annual change– 2011 - 2017
  • Table 5 – Revenue by sector – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 6 – Revenue market share by sector – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 7 – Fonatel investment in telecoms – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 8 – ICE financial data – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 9 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 11 – PSTN lines and penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 12 – Proportion of traditional fixed and VoIP lines – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line telephony revenue – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 14 – Fixed-line telephony and VoIP ARPU – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line telephony and VoIP traffic – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 16 – Average telephony traffic per subscriber (fixed-line and VoIP) – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 17 –International bandwidth – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Active VoIP subscriptions and penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 19 –VoIP market share by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 20 – VoIP services revenue– 2011 - 2017
  • Table 21 – Wholesale fixed-line broadband lines – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 22 – Fixed-line broadband revenue and ARPU – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 23 – Proportion of fixed internet connections by data rate - 2015 - 2017
  • Table 24 – Historic - Internet users and user penetration – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 25 – Internet users and user penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 26 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 27 – Historic - Broadband market share by technology – 2000 – 2009
  • Table 28 –Fixed-line broadband market share by technology – 2015 – 2017
  • Table 29 – Fixed-line internet traffic and annual change– 2013 - 2017
  • Table 30 – Cable modem subscribers and household penetration – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 31 – DSL subscribers and household penetration – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 32 – Fibre broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 33 – WiMAX subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 34 – Average traffic per mobile subscriber - 2012 – 2017
  • Table 35 – Mobile market share by operator - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Mobile market traffic - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 37 –Mobile revenue by service - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 38 –Mobile revenue by service - 2012 – 2017
  • Table 39 –Proportion of mobile service revenue by type - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1998 - 2009
  • Table 41 – Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2010 - 2018
  • Table 42 – Proportion of prepaid and postpaid subscribers - 2010 - 2017
  • Table 43 – Prepaid and contract subscribers - 2010 - 2017
  • Table 44 – Prepaid and contract mobile ARPU - 2014 - 2017
  • Table 45 – SMS and MMS traffic - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 46 – SMS/MMS revenue - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 47 – Mobile internet subscribers and penetration - 2009 - 2018
  • Table 48 – Mobile internet revenue - 2013 - 2017
  • Table 49 – Mobile internet traffic - 2013 - 2017
  • Table 50 – Mobile number portings - 2013 - 2017
  • Table 51 – Roaming revenue (SMS/MMS and voice) - 2013 - 2017
  • Table 52 – ICE mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 53 – Claro mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 54 – Movistar mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 55 – MVNO mobile subscribers by provider - 2011 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Revenue by sector – 2012 – 2017
  • Chart 2 – Revenue market share by sector – 2012 – 2017
  • Chart 3 – ICE financial data – 2010 – 2017
  • Chart 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Broadband subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Cable modem subscribers and household penetration – 2000 – 2018
  • Chart 7 – DSL subscribers and household penetration – 2002 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Mobile market share by operator - 2011 – 2017
  • Chart 9 – Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 10 – Prepaid and contract subscribers - 2010 – 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cable networks connecting Costa Rica

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