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    With 169% active services, it even exceeds Singapore, Finland and Switzerland

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    Costa Rica is the country with the largest number of active celular phone lines per inhabitant in the world according to the most recent data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and presented by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel) in its State of the Telecommunications 2019.

    And it is that with 169% of active postpaid and prepaid mobile services, it even exceeds world comunications leaders such as Singapore, Finland and Switzerland. However, the cellular penetration of Uruguay and El Salvador are very similar with 150% and 147%, respectively, also surpassing Asian and European countries.

    A slight increase

    In general terms, the national cell phone market experienced a slight increase during 2019, with a total of 8.5 million active lines, which represents a growth of 0.6% compared to 2018. As for mobile phone penetration, it reached 169% last year, where the postpaid modality increased with an annual average of 11.1% since 2015, while the prepaid ones do so at a rate of 0.8%. At the end of 2019, users with a monthly plan represented 28% of subscriptions, while prepaid was almost 78%, (that is, there are 2.5 prepaid lines for each postpaid line).

    Market leaders

    The market is led by Kölbi, the telecommunications brand of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) which holds 51.2% of the total active subscribers, followed by Movistar with 29.9% and Claro with 18.9%, with a total of 8.5 million lines. Despite this, Movistar was the only mobile operator that grew in Costa Rica last year in the number of subscribers and market share, taking out customers above all from the national operator Kölbi and a little from Claro Costa Rica.

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