Sutel delays decision on market competitiveness until November

20 Jan 2016

Costa Rican telecom regulator the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) has delayed its decision on the competitiveness of the nation’s telecoms markets until November 2016, El Financiero writes. If the market is deemed competitive, Sutel will deregulate tariffs, providing operators with greater control over their offerings and allowing them greater flexibility to introduce new services more easily. The process has been drawn out by Sutel’s insistence on carrying out studies to verify that the market is indeed competitive. The regulator carried out an international benchmarking study and a survey of providers and other industry stakeholders on the level of competition in 2015, and will now conduct a household survey assessing the substitutability of services. In February-August 2016 Sutel will prepare reports on the relevant markets, which will be put to public consultation before a decision is made in November 2016. Previously, Sutel’s president had announced in May 2015 that the studies would be completed by the end of December 2015.

Making matters worse, the studies have been criticised by the industry as being expensive and unnecessary. Emilio Oscar Barahona, president of the Chamber of Information and Communication Technology (Infocom) was quoted as saying that ‘the market already meets the requirements to be declared [to have] effective competitive conditions,’ adding that Sutel has the power to make such a declaration without conducting further studies.