By Ashley Steyaert

On Tuesday, June 8th, ICE installed a new telecommunications tower providing coverage across a circumference of 3 kilometers from its base on Mount Las Huacas, expanding 3G service from as far as Barco Quebrado to Downtown Nosara. Although the installation of the new tower increases the service coverage of 3G clients, some believe it decreases the property value of nearby real estate properties.

3G, or Third Generation International Mobile Telecommunications Services, include wide-area wireless voice telephone, video calls, and wireless data, all in a mobile environment. For 3G clients, the installation of the new tower means that they will have “more 3G coverage, and faster Internet capabilities” than provided by the older but still functioning GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cell phone service, according to Nosara ICE Representative, Ilda Villagra. She adds that “it’s very important that if [clients] have 3G service, that they also have a 3G phone” or else the service won’t work properly.

Foreigners who come to visit Costa Rica with their 3G cell phones such as the iPhone or Blackberry, “need only to go to their service provider in their country prior to coming to Costa Rica and request roaming service and make a deposit. If ICE has a roaming agreement with that country, their 3G cell phone service will work the same as it does in the country of origin” ICE Press Release Contact Rose Mary Monge informs us. “It works the same for people from Costa Rica who want to have 3G service abroad” she adds. For more information on roaming and 3G service through ICE, visit their website at www.grupoice.com.

While the new ICE tower raises the service quality provided to local area 3G users, it seems as though the aesthetics thereof could be lowering the property value of real estate lots whose panoramic views may now be obstructed by it. Local La Campana realtor Christina Maya Trafton explains “if you can see a cell tower from your lot, it probably does lower the value… on the other hand, we all like to be able to communicate and talk with our friends and neighbors. It’s a trade-off.” Kathleen King with Eco Realty says “I don’t see how [the tower] can’t lower the value [of nearby lots] because it’s ugly, [but] we definitely need it” for communication purposes.

However, Wanderlust realtor Alonso Noguera tells us “in relation to property values, for the moment we have definitely not changed the prices of anything near that tower.” As Bram Shook from Century 21 puts it, “there are some people who are very happy about it and some who are not… only time will tell” what effects the new 3G tower will have on the area’s real estate value.