Costa Rica’s state-owned operator Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) wants to expand into more countries in the region and rival market leaders Claro and Movistar.
ICE’s director of telecommunications, Jaime Palermo, said the operator was already working with Nicaragua’s Enatrel, launching a brand called Te-Comunica in the country in 2017.
It now wants to follow a similar model in other countries and is close to reaching a deal with a partner in El Salvador to offer mobile and internet services as an MVNO, Peruvian newspaper La Republica reported. It is also in talks with Hondutel in Honduras: “The deal is advanced, we are waiting for the government to call us again when the situation of the presidential elections in that territory is normalised,” Palermo said.
ICE is also discussing deals with companies in Guatemala, Panama and Mexico. In most of the countries it set its sights on, ICE will be pitted against Claro and Movistar.
Last week ICE partnered with Telia Carrier to provide dedicated internet access to its customers in Central America. A statement by parent Telia Company said ICE is the number one retail ISP in Central America and the Caribbean, and is experiencing growing demand for broadband services.
In Costa Rica, ICE operates under the brand name kolbi where it led the market with a 53 per cent market share in Q4 2014, as per GSMA Intelligence figures. This is followed by Movistar (Telefonica) with a 31 per cent market share and Claro (America Movil) in third with a 20 per cent share.