Battle for Cell Towers Continues

The privatization of telecommunications in Costa Rica is still hampered by bureaucracy and lack of agreements in favor of consumers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

They are still 13 Costa Rican municipalities who are not authorizing the installation of “so called” cell towers because of lack of regulations in this respect, or because the regulations, where they do exist, contains disproportionate demands which make it "virtually impossible to install the structures."

It was assumed that the existing towers belonging to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) would also support the antennas of its competitors, but this has not happened, and it is common to see three antennae each on their own towers very close to each other geographically in order to provide cellular coverage.

The end result is a slow down of the schedules of new operators to comply with the plans and time coverage of their services, more visual pollution, and higher costs, which of course, are always paid, one way or another, by the consumer.

More on this topic

Democracy vs. Public Corporations

April 2013

The Costa Rica state telecom company is moving away from the purpose that justifies its existence and is impeding the exercise of the popular will in terms of the cellular market opening up.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), after using every piece of legal chicanery imaginable to prevent the implementation of number portability, is now simply saying "I WONT SIGN", citing technical insolvency as its reason for not integrating the system that allows users to migrate from one cellular communication provider to another, while keeping their phone number.

Costa Rica: Cellular Market Grows 36% in Seven Months

November 2012

Since the formal break up of the monopoly held by the state communications firm, ICE, the number of allocated cell lines has grown from 3.9 to 5.3 million. reports that this information was obtained "by an appeal to the Constitutional Court, which forced the Sutel to provide the number of lines that the ICE had up to November 2011, which was considered a strategic issue by the state company and the regulator.

Costa Rica: The Cell Phone Tower Problem

July 2011

While operators are putting up new antennas, the lack of regulation in the field is creating problems for the future.

The opening of the telecommunications market in the country has been accompanied by a significant increase in the installation of new antennas, many of them owned by private companies that will join the market when the privatisation process is formalized.

Costa Rica: No Authorizations for Cell Towers

October 2010

Municipalities still have 2.000 pending applications for building towers.

Problems in issuing permits (just the municipality of Turrialba has 200 requests) have to do with the lack of knowledge on how to process such permits.

"The Government asked on Oct. 21st for representatives of local governments to support a general regulation for municipal procedures on telecommunications" publishes El Financiero on its web page.