Sutel sets minimum speed of 256kbps, repeals fair usage policy

6 Oct 2017

Costa Rican telecoms watchdog the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) has set a minimum connection speed of 256kbps for post-paid mobile customers. The decision follows an order by the Constitutional Court in early September, which stated that allowing cellcos to unilaterally determine data transfer rates under fair use policies – which allow operators to limit a customer’s download speed once a set data cap has been exceeded – violated consumers’ fundamental rights. As part of the ruling, the court required Sutel to impose a temporary speed floor within 30 days, with a more permanent base line to be adopted within four months, once any necessary technical studies had been carried out. In a response to the court this week, however, Sutel explained that the fair use policy had been repealed on 28 September as the conditions that had prompted the establishment of the policy – a combination of market conditions and the technical limitations of the country’s mobile networks – had changed. As such, Sutel instructed operators to immediately eliminate the fair use policy from their contracts.

Explaining its decision to set the floor at 256kbps, Sutel claimed that its studies showed that the transfer rate was sufficient to guarantee the operation of mobile applications most used by Costa Ricans. Sutel will review the rate every two years, or earlier if a technological change requires a revision of the established functional speed.