Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves Robles has confirmed that he has signed an agreement which will see state-backed utility firm/telco Grupo ICE return its unused 5G-suitable spectrum. The agreement was signed on 7 September and covers frequencies in the 3400MHz-3500MHz and 3600MHz-3625MHz bands. President Chaves commented: ‘Costa Rica must take full advantage of the benefits of technological progress and convergence, for this reason, the Government of the Republic committed itself to the Costa Ricans to materialise the deployment of 5G in Costa Rica – to resume the path of development and economic growth without leaving anyone behind.’
In May 2022, in one of his first acts after assuming power, the new president ordered Grupo ICE to return all of the state-owned company’s 5G-suitable spectrum holdings to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Telecomunicaciones, MICITT) within six months. Back on 25 June 2021 the MICITT notified Grupo ICE of its intention to retrieve the operator’s 5G-suitable frequencies, as it sought to further the country’s wider 5G ambitions. Subsequently, in November 2021 the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) informed the MICITT that it was unwilling to reimburse ICE for its unused frequencies, prompting the state-backed company to dig in its heels.