Costa Rica’s 5G mobile inches closer
A slight indication that Costa Rica might finally be moving towards a rollout of 5G mobile services occurred in June 2021 when the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications announced that it was seeking to recover 5G-suitable frequencies from the state-owned telco ICE.
ICE’s mobile business unit Kölbi possesses 5G-suitable frequencies in the 3.4GHz band, with its subsidiary RACSA having spectrum in the 3.425-3.625GHz band. The Costa Rican government needs to reassign frequencies for 5G use before starting the spectrum auction process.
Overall, the Costa Rican telecom sector in 2020 was underwhelming, with minimal growth in some areas while other market sectors experienced contractions. Two bright spots were the fixed broadband market, which continues to expand in size and performance: the length of the fibre network increased 162% in the year to June 2020, while the average data speed is now above 10Mb/. In the mobile broadband sector, the subscriber penetration rate broached 100% for the first time.
Companies mentioned in this report
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Cabletica, Claro, Liberty Latin America, Movistar, RASCA, Telecable, Tigo