On thin ICE; Sutel unhappy with network coverage

23 Jan 2012

Costa Rican telecoms regulator Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) has said that the network coverage of incumbent wireless operator ICE Celular, which offers its services under the ‘Kolbi’ brand, is still unsatisfactory in certain areas. Sutel conducted a study of ICE’s network coverage along roads and in cities between October and November last year and found that 2G coverage on only six of the 35 routes analysed met regulatory requirements. 3G coverage was better, meeting the watchdog’s requirements on 14 of the routes checked. Sutel found similar results in cities and villages, with 3G coverage greater than 2G, though the watchdog said that ICE had surpassed minimum requirements for network coverage in these areas. According to local daily Inside Costa Rica, Sutel director Glenn Fallas commented that ‘ICE has improved coverage in populated areas, but needs to improve significantly along the routes.’ ICE challenged the results of the report, saying that coverage failure was due to either a localised technical fault, or the methodology of the Sutel’s analysis. A spokesperson for the telco went on to say that the telco was planning to install 400 more towers to improve coverage along roads and in villages.