The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) will free up 60,000 GSM cell phone lines for sale starting this Monday, a far cry from the 300,000 the state company had hoped to make available by the end of this year.
According Adolfo Arias, an ICE manager, the company will start contacting the lucky first 60,000 of more than 150,000 patrons on a waiting list on Monday with the good news.
Arias said they will work to get the rest of the promised 300,000 lines available beginning next month, at the rate of 100,000 per month. ICE has not released new lines since the first half of this year.
ICE said 100,000 pre-paid phones will also soon be available to sate some of the demand for phone lines. A portion of these phones will be available to people without Costa Rica residency (TT, Oct. 31).
The long nationalized telecommunications industry has recently opened up to foreign competition but is still the only cell phone service provider in the country.
There are about 1.8 million cell phones in Costa Rica right now, and 1.3 million of which are GSM.
To check on your waiting status or to be put on a waiting list, call 115 or 193, or visit ICE’s offices. Clients who do not respond to the notification that a line is available will be taken off the waiting list. To buy a cell phone line, clients must have a copy of their Costa Rican ID card, known as the cédula, a receipt for water or power service, the receipt for a GSM cell phone and ¢12,500 (about $23) for a deposit.