State-owned full service provider Kolbi, the telecoms arm of Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Grupo ICE) has completed the deployment of 354 Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations, Jaime Palermo, ICE’s manager for telecoms told El Financiero. The new towers were deployed in the San Jose greater metropolitan area as well as ‘provinces and distant places, not just where people can afford [the higher-priced 4G services].’ Palermo went on to say that the telco plans to transform its weaknesses into strengths and, to that end, will invest in equipment and networks, including upgrading its fixed broadband services to provide downlink speeds of up to 100Mbps. The official did not give an exact figure for the planned investment, but said that it would reach ‘hundreds of millions of dollars.’
Commenting on ICE’s other telecoms divisions, Palermo explained that Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA) will be refocused to concentrate on serving government institutions, with corporate and residential services taking a back seat. ICE plans to encourage residential customers to migrate to Kolbi, but will not force users to make the move. In a similar vein, mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Full, which was acquired by RACSA in February 2014, may also be turned towards serving state agencies, although the group is still exploring options. Meanwhile, ICE is looking to shore up weaknesses it has identified at its Cable Vision unit and as such is upgrading the operator’s network to provide download speeds of 10Mbps-20Mbps, expanding coverage in areas such as Cartago, strengthening relationships with content providers and relocating plants nearer to existing ICE facilities.