Costa Rica’s telecom market is one of the most advanced in Central America. Despite the economic slowdown, mobile telephony is expected to grow strongly in 2009, as the state-owned incumbent ICE prepares to face competition by cornering as much as it can of the market.

In fact, Costa Rica’s telecom industry is undergoing a sea change, following a new General Telecommunications Law (GTL) that is gradually implementing liberalisation. The GTL has been described as the most advanced legislation in Latin America in its approach to technological convergence.

State-owned ICE and its subsidiary RACSA have been the monopoly providers of virtually all telecom services in Costa Rica except for pay TV. While ICE did better than most other Latin American operators in delivering basic fixed-line telephony, it proved inefficient in the provision of mobile phone services.

Costa Rica’s fixed line teledensity is the highest in Latin America, only exceeded by some of the wealthier Caribbean islands. This is an impressive performance, and well beyond what could be expected given Costa Rica’s other economic indicators.

Although it improved noticeably in 2008, penetration is still less than one would expect given Costa Rica’s relatively high GDP per capita. Postpaid fees in Costa Rica are extremely low, but ICE still does not offer prepaid mobile cards, so popular throughout Latin America.

Costa Rica’s broadband market is the most advanced in Central America, with the highest broadband penetration for this sub-region.

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Costa Rica – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband” report to their offering.