Costa Rica’s telecommunications market was worth 728bn colones (US$1.15bn) in 2020, regulator Sutel reported, down 4.2% compared to 2019.
In terms of its share of GDP, the industry remains just above 2%.
In 2020, revenues from basic fixed telephony, VoIP and mobile voice services fell. On the other hand, internet use (fixed and mobile), the most demanded during the pandemic, was steady. “In 2020, what was observed in 2019 was confirmed, where data transfer revenues double mobile telephony revenues,” the regulator said in a report.
Investments in telecommunications stood at around 0.2% of GDP, compared to 0.6% in 2019.
TELEPHONY AND MOBILE INTERNET
Costa Rica ended 2020 with 7.5mn mobile phone subscribers, with 41.1% being clients of Kolbi (Grupo ICE), followed by Movistar (38.6%) – acquired by Liberty Latin America – and Claro (20.3%).
Of the total, 33.4% were postpaid lines and 66.6% prepaid. State-owned ICE disconnected prepaid lines without activity for more than 90 days.
Mobile telephony penetration fell to 150% from a high of 179% in 2017.
At the end of 2020, mobile network operators reported a total of 4.6mn mobile internet subscriptions.
The pandemic fueled growth of fixed internet services. At the end of 2020, 992,725 subscriptions were registered, up 11.8% compared to a year before.
The fastest growing technology was wireless (microwave, WiMAX, satellite, among others) with a rate of 48.9%, followed by fiber optics to the home (18.3%), copper (11.6%) and coaxial cable (7.1%).
Of fixed broadband connections, 68.3% are through cable (1.5 percentage points less than in 2019), 21.6% copper (-0.4 percentage points), 13.9% fiber optics (one percentage point above 2019) and wireless technologies 0.7%.
There was a decline in speed ranges contracted, with fewer subscriptions for ranges of up to 15Mbps and more for ranges greater than 50Mbps. The range with the highest percentage growth was speeds above 100Mbps.
At the end of 2020, ICE had a market share of 33.1%, followed by Cabletica (22.2%), Telecable (19.9%) and Tigo (18.5%).
The report shows that 63% of fixed internet subscriptions were bundled. In the fixed telephony service, the contracting of a packaged service is 28% for traditional fixed telephony and 80% in the case of VoIP.
In the case of pay television, 69% of subscriptions are associated with another service.
In 2020, no operator sold mobile phone subscriptions bundled with fixed services.
The largest number of subscriptions are in the fixed internet and pay TV package, followed by the triple play package of fixed internet, pay TV and VoIP fixed telephony. It is followed by the fixed internet package and VoIP fixed telephony and, finally, VoIP fixed telephony with pay TV.