Operator puts fine on ICE whilst court hears evidence

12 Jun 2015

Costa Rica’s Administrative Court has blocked telecoms regulator Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) from enforcing a punitive fine levied against state-backed incumbent Grupo Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Grupo ICE), which offers telecom services under the Kolbi brand, for anti-competitive practices. El Financiero writes that the deadline for the payment of the fine has been delayed by a ‘provisional suspension’ until the court hears evidence from watchdogs Sutel and the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Publicos (ARESEP), which regulates prices for public services.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Kolbi was issued a fine of CRC2.158 billion (USD3.965 million), equivalent to 0.58% of the group’s mobile turnover in the most recent fiscal year, for margin squeezing through its pre-paid ‘Chip Extremo’ promotion, which offered customers free bonus minutes. According to Sutel, the service was offered in November and December 2011 and October and November 2012 and had an anti-competitive impact on the basis that ‘if competitors had wanted to match the offer within the prescribed period, [they] would have incurred economic losses.’

Costa Rica, Grupo ICE, Grupo ICE (Kolbi)