Costa Rican ombudsman challenges Sutel’s ruling

Costa Rican ombudsman challenges Sutel’s ruling

Costa Rica's ombudsman is challenging the telecoms regulator over alleged defects in its ruling on competition in the mobile market.

The office of the Defender of the Inhabitants of the Republic (DHR), the Costa Rican ombudsman, has challenged the Superintendence of Telecommunications (Sutel), over its decision to declare the country’s mobile market competitive and remove price regulations.

In an interview with El Financiero, Montserrat Solano Carboni, the DHR ombudsman, argued that the ruling by Sutel has not fully complied with “article 50 of the General Telecommunications Law”, adding that the challenge issued by the ombudsman is far from being resolved.  

In the appeal itself DHR describes Sutel’s ruling as one that “suffers from serious and insurmountable defects in its motive”. It rejects the claim by Sutel that the mobile market has now effective competition saying “that in Costa Rica there is an oligopoly” and that the price regulations are still required in order to avoid “avoid monopolistic practices to the detriment of users' rights and interests”.

It goes on to say that the allocation of radio spectrum to América Móvil’s Claro, Telefónica’s Movistar and the state-owned Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), would create barriers that prevents the entry of new market players.

DHR also criticised the supply of commercial information saying that it is “not user friendly”, which is required in order for consumers to make smart and informed decisions. 

Operators are said to be satisfied with the decision made by Sutel. Gilbert Camacho, chairman of Sutel, said that up until 28 September, when DHR launched its appeal, only one appeal had be received. The one appeal concerned a decision over jurisdiction. No official comment from Sutel over DHR’s appeal has yet to be released.

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