Regulatory Mania is Curbing Mobile Internet

The only countries in America where mobile phone prices are still regulated are El Salvador and Costa Rica. It is no coincidence that these countries are among the last in the rankings for speed of mobile internet services.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


And it is no coincidence that these two countries also suffer from the existence of the heaviest controlling bureaucracies in the Central American isthmus, with clear consequences for the slow adaptation to changes experienced by the global economy, particularly globalization.

In 2011 an article by BBC World stressed that the degree of development of nations is now measured by "access to internet, particularly to fixed broadband." Five years later, a fall in sales of desktop computers in contrast to the rapid rise of mobile devices has meant that the development measurement has changed, using speed of mobile internet connection as a parameter instead.

Pablo Bello, executive director of the American Association of Telecommunications Companies (ASIET), told that in Costa Rica, "... The regulation of prices for mobile services limits the market, affects users and is five years behind."

Bello added "... 'In America, all over the Americas, only Costa Rica and El Salvador still have fixed prices. It is an exceptional, extremely exceptional thing to fix prices in the global context of how the mobile market works. "

As for prices, Bello said that "... the existence of tariff rigidity, and the existence of regulatory risk, affects investment because as an investor you do not know what is going to be decided by the authority tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."

More on this topic

Costa Rica: Liberation of Telephony and Mobile Internet Rates

August 2017

If the proposal put forward by the Superintendence of Telecommunications is successful, the rates for telephony and mobile internet will be free of regulation.

The proposal to declare effective competition in the mobile phone market will put to public consultation for the next 15 days.

Competition in Telecommunications Put to Public Consultation

October 2016

If the Sutel's proposal is approved, on December Costa Rica will eliminate the tariff regulation for the international telephone, internet and postpaid cellular telephony markets.

From a statement issued by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel):

Costa Rica: Telecoms Moving Slowly

January 2015

Even though demand continues to grow, operators are not able to grow due to lack of effective competition in the mobile market and delays in the allocation of spectrum.

A portion of customers in the cellular market and other telecommunications services such as internet and cable television are still dissatisfied, but telecommunications companies are not able to increase their services due to the slow rate at which the rules are set and at which infrastructure problems are addressed.

Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009: Americas

September 2009

Market Overview. Internet access and applications. Benchmarking ICT developments in the Americas.

Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009: Americas, by International Telecommunication Union.

When it comes to information society developments in the Americas region, a promising development is mobile cellular uptake, and several of the region’s developing countries have a higher level of mobile penetration than its developed countries. During the past few years, mobile telephony has grown rapidly and is likely to exceed 100 per cent penetration in most countries in the near future. It is notable that no other region has such a strong presence of strategic investors, which account for three out of every four mobile subscriptions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Americas region also stands out in terms of VoIP traffic, which has been growing steeply in Central and South America.

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