Superindencia de Telecomunicaciones de Costa Rica - SutelSuperindencia de Telecomunicaciones de Costa Rica - SutelSuperindencia de Telecomunicaciones de Costa Rica - Sutel
General Evolution of the Sector
This document shows the main results for the 2010-2014 period, concerning the behavior of the telecommunications sector; specifically in terms of income, investment and human resources, amongst other topics. However, these results will be discussed in greater detail, when it comes to each service, in the following sections.
Composition of the available supply
Regarding the number of telecommunication operators and service suppliers, at the end of 2014, 122 operators and providers were authorized by SUTEL to provide telecommunications services. This is the highest figure recorded during the period 2011-2014. This report took into consideration only those companies that were commercializing telecommunication services under the licensing scheme, as well as a total of 7 operators holding a concession for the use of the radio spectrum.

In this manner, it is important to clarify that not all authorized operators and service providers were commercializing the authorized services in each of the analysis periods. For this reason, the number of licensed operators or service providers is not directly related to the number of suppliers of the monitored services, when generating these statistics. Additionally, it must also be taken into consideration that each provider and operator may offer more than one service and may commercialize all the authorized services in an active way, which implies certain constrains when conducting a cross-cutting analysis on this subject.

In the 2013 -2014 period analysis, 84% of all operators and providers (authorized, under a concession or both) were considered, which brought together more than 90 % of the total subscriptions and income in each of the analyzed services.

The authorized services that were not covered by this report, (bundled as the service proposal presented by the SUTEL in 2013), were: geo-location, video conferencing and trunking. The reason is that these services require a concession of radio spectrum frequencies for private commercial use; therefore, the telecommunications network used to provide these services is private and as decided by SUTEL, it must not interconnect with public telecommunication networks; hence, the services provided are not considered telecommunication services available to the public and are not subject to the other provisions of law.
Income generated by the sector
When analyzing the evolution of the figures of total revenue generated by the telecommunications sector, it is important to consider that this item covers only the services of fixed telephony, mobile telephony and data transfer, excluding for special reasons the service of subscription TV, which is not considered as a telecommunication service in itself. The reason for this, is the fact that section 123 of the Agreement 022-089-2011, by name “Review of the Current List of Tariffs”, establishes that SUTEL is to govern only the transportation of data related to the subscription TV service and not the service itself; as such, it is physically impossible to distinguish which part of the network is used for transport data and which for generating content.

In 2014, the income generated by the telecommunications sector amounted to 722,089 million colones, 34% higher than in 2013 (540,150 million colones) and 83% higher than the amount achieved in 2011 (395,384 million colones). As for the composition of the total income in 2014, mobile telephony continues to be the main source of income in the sector, as it increased its relative market share by 2% in this period, if compared to other services; and unlike fixed telephony, which continues to maintain its trend, in 8%. Moreover, the leased lines service decreased a 2%, while the fixed service of Internet access continues persistent for the second consecutive year.
Fixed Telephony
The fixed telephone service, which includes the traditional basic phone service as well as the VoIP service, shows an increasing trend, with a 29% increase in the 2013-2014 period, going from 43,938 million colones to 57, 089 million colones, mainly due to an increase in the traditional basic phone service rates.
Mobile telephony and mobile Internet access
The total revenue associated with the Mobile Telephone Service increased by 38% from 2013 to 2014, rising from 293 thousand million colones to 404 thousand million colones; thus, becoming the service that generates the most revenue in the telecommunications market.

When considering the total revenue linked to mobile networks as a whole, i.e. including all transported voice and data, the growth between one year and the next was 37%.

As a significant fact, the income by voice services accounted for 76% last year and the service of mobile Internet access represented 24%. This composition has remained the same in the past two years.
Internet access
In 2014, the total income associated with the service of wired and wireless internet access grew 36% compared to 2013; in which it amounted to 32,252 million colones, during the 2011-2014 period. This pattern of growth is mainly determined by the evolution of income generated by the service of fixed wired Internet access, which was increased by a 37% last year, growing from 63,267 million colones to 86,644 million colones in 2014. Unlike the wireless service, which grew from 4,642 million colones to 5,607 million colones during the same period. 5,607 million colones, during the same period.

However, in the case of mobile Internet access, there has been a slowdown in the growth of the generated income, since in the past year there was an increase from 94,006 million colones to 127,198 million colones. This implies it grew by a 35%, whereas in previous years it had grown by 69% and 128%, respectively.
Leased Lines
The income generated by leased lines service took a turn in its upward trend during 2014, decreasing by 15%, coming down from 41,101 million colones to 40,588 million colones. This behavior is opposite to the one presented in the 2011-2013 period, in which there was an increase from 24,535 million to 41,101 million respectively, which represented a 65% increase.
Total Investment
About the total investment made by operators and service providers, in order to provide their users with telecommunications services during the 2010 -2014 period, by comparison of percentages related to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the period of greatest increase was the biennium 2010 -2011, in which the investment rose from 0.8 to 2.1 in percentage comparison to the GDP. However, this growing trend continued until 2012, in which it peaked at 2.4%.

In 2014, this ratio remained constant for the second consecutive year, with a value equal to 1% of GDP. This behavior is justified, mainly because the operators deployed the largest portion of network and telecommunications infrastructure in the previous years, in order to offer their services in each market sector, with special emphasis on mobile and data transfer. This category measures the amount of new investments made in each period and not the amount of accumulated investment for each operator and service provider.
Human Resources
The number of human resources employed directly by the telecommunications sector increased by 5% in 2014, going from 10,442 people in 2013 to 11,002 employees in 2014. This indicates that the telecommunications sector continues to grow, but at a slower rate than in previous years. In a similar way to investment, this behavior responds to the changes experienced by the sector as part of the market opening, which will further demonstrate the continuous development of the sector.

As for the workforce in the sector represented as a percentage of the economically active population of Costa Rica, in 2014 the ratio was 0.5%, which remains constant when compared to 2013 and increasing 8% compared to 2012. Furthermore, the 11,002 employees working in the industry in 2014 accounted for 0.2% of the total population of the country in the same year.

In terms of female population employed in the sector, there was a 15% increase by the end of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013; being the highest number of those two years (2,911), representing 26% of the total number of people employed in this industry.

Graphic 1. Costa Rica. Total Income and percentage variations for the Telecommunications Sector2011 - 2014Anual figures in million colones and percentages

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 2. Costa Rica: Total Income by Telecommunication Service2011 - 2014Anual figures represented in percentages

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 3. Costa Rica. Total Income by Telecommunication Service.2011 - 2014Anual figures represented in million colones

Note: The heading "Internet" contemplates fixed internet (wired and wireless) excluding mobile internet. The heading "Mobile Telephony" includes mobile internet access service.

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 4. Costa Rica: Total Investment in the Telecommunications Sector as part of the GDP2010 - 2014Anual Figures by Percentage

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 5. Costa Rica: Work Force Employed in Telecommunications Sector2010 - 2014
Absolute Anual Figures

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 6. Costa Rica: Work Force Employed in Telecommunications Sector compared to Total Population and Economically Active Population. Represented in Percentages.2010 - 2014Absolute Anual Figures

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Graphic 7. Costa Rica: Female Workforce in Telecommunications Sector.2010 - 2014

Source: SUTEL, Directorate-General for Markets

Table 1. Costa Rica: Work Force Employed in Telecommunications Sector compared to Economically Active Population. Represented in Percentages
display 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total population 4.534 million 4,592,149 4,652,459 4,713,168 4.77313 million
Telecommunications Sector as a percentage of total population 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Total workforce 2,077,655 2,142,937 2,212,031 2,277,577 2,279,775
Telecommunications Sector as a percentage of the total workforce 0.4% 0.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5%
Source: Sutel, Directorate-General Market

Table 2. Costa Rica: Indicator Summary Regarding Telecommunications Sector Performance in Costa Rica
2011 - 2014
Indicator 2011 2012 2013 2014
Sector's Aggregated Data
Total income (millions of colones) ** 395,384 460,853 540,150 722,089
Total income/ GDP (percentage) 2.1% 2.2% 2.4% 3.0%
Total Investment/ GDP 2.1% 2.4% 1.0% 1.0%
Total Employed Workforce 9,618 9,900 10,442 11,002
Total Employed Workforce/Total Economically Active Population 0.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5%
Fixed Phone Service
Total Subscriptions 1,031,719 995,089 968,459 881,217
Total Subscriptions / 100 22% 21% 21% 18%
Total subscriptions / 100 80% 75% 72% 63%
Total Fixed telephony Subscriptions basic 1,027,847 966,476 936,035 839,968
Subscriptions totalesVoIP 3,872 18,265 32,424 41,249
Total number of public telephones 18,960 16,348 13,145 8,188
Mobile Phone service
Total Subscriptions 4,153,067 5,378,082 7,111,981 7,101,892
Subscriptions Total / 100 90% 116% 151% 149%
Subscriptions prepaid / Total subscriptions 70% 79% 83% 80%
postpaid subscriptions / Total subscriptions 30% 21% 17% 20%
Data transfer
Total Internet access 2,008,763 3,118,155 4,028,302 4,806,217
Total fixed-wired Internet subscriptions 414,384 439,043 474,433 503,347
Total fixed-wireless Internet subscriptions 5,398 8,904 10,450 12,493
Total Mobile Internet 1,588,981 2,670,208 3,543,419 4,290,377
Total fixed Internet subscribers / 100 inhabitants 9% 10% 10% 11%
Total fixed Internet subscriptions / 100 housesholds 32% 34% 36% 37%
Total mobile Internet access subscriptions / 100 inhabitants 35% 57% 75% 90%
Total mobile Internet / total mobile phone subscribers 38% 50% 50% 60%
Total Number of Leased Lines Connections 10,273 11,993 16,375 16,286
Subscription TV
Total Subscriptions 498,137 540,693 641,042 732,546
Total Subscriptions / 100 inhabitants 11% 12% 14% 15%
Total subscriptions / 100 38% 41% 48% 52%
Note: ** This figures do not include income associated to the subscription TV service.

Source:. SUTEL, Directorate General Market