Sutel green-lights tariff ceiling increase

23 Sep 2013

Telecoms regulator Sutel has approved an increase in price caps for tariffs for fixed voice services, including voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) offerings, following a request from incumbent Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Grupo ICE). The watchdog has approved an increase in the maximum basic rate for fixed services from CRC1,850 to CRC3,339 (USD3.63 to USD6.55), removing the requirement to include a set number of minutes (previously set at 160 minutes). The tariff ceiling for fixed to fixed calls also rose from CRC4.1 per minute to CRC7.6 per minute, whilst fixed to mobile tariffs will be reduced to CRC21.9 per minute from CRC30 per minute. ICE had requested that basic rates and fixed to fixed prices be increased further, to CRC4,150 and CRC11 respectively, but these were rejected by Sutel. Walther Herrera, director general of markets for the watchdog, commented on the amendments: ‘The fixed rate has been the same since 2004 and after a thorough analysis we believe that this tariff restructuring was necessary for the market and the user. To clarify, these rates are maximum prices and that operators can charge less according to their business strategy. This tariff restructuring was made taking into account international best practices, to promote competition in the market.’