Ombudsman challenges mobile market competitiveness ruling

29 Sep 2017

The Ombudsman’s Office of Costa Rica (La Defensoria de los Habitantesde la Republica, DHR) has challenged a recent ruling by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) which declared the wireless market competitive and removed restrictions on tariff-setting. El Financiero cites ombudsman Montserrat Solano as saying that the decision did not comply with the General Telecommunications Law, and suffered from ‘serious and insurmountable defects in motive.’ The DHR claimed that price reductions in recent years were due to factors other than competition, accusing the watchdog of omitting the relevant information and challenged Sutel’s view that the operators had differentiated competitive approaches. The ombudsman also claimed that the allocation of radio spectrum to the trio of mobile network operators – Kolbil, Movistar Costa Rica and Claro Costa Rica – represented an unassailable barrier to any would-be newcomers to the market. Finally, the DHR said that the regulator had not taken into consideration the current level of customer satisfaction – 52%, according to the ombudsman – which the office says indicated a lack of effective competition in the retail service market.