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Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber suspends public hearing on proposed changes to mobile Internet rates

June 27, 2014

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, on Friday ordered the suspension of a July 1 hearing at the Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL) during which the agency intended to propose that mobile Internet rates be billed according to the amount of transferred data, at ₡0.0075 per-kilobyte downloaded, instead of billing for connection speed.

Sala IV President Gilbert Armijo Sancho ordered SUTEL to suspend the hearing after admitting a claim filed by Christian Democratic Alliance lawmaker Mario Redondo stating that SUTEL “has failed to provide sufficient information that favors an appropiate amount of participation from customers at the hearing.”

Redondo also claims the lack of information is a violation of customers’ right of defense, as the SUTEL proposal does not provide consumers with adequate technical explanations for the proposed change.

“[The proposal] does not explain the alleged times at which the Internet service is saturated, or the geographical areas where the alleged saturation occurs. There are other solutions that can be implemented such as regulating the spectrum band or offering private contracts to manage it, but the solution cannot be just proposing changes in rates,” Redondo argued.

The agency now must resubmit the request with sufficient information to clearly explain if a saturation of the service actually exists.

Sala IV spokeswoman Pamela Rodríguez Monge said that justices are studying two other claims related to the change in rates for mobile Internet services.

President Luis Guillermo Solís this week asked two Tico experts to help him draft an official recommendation regarding the proposed new model for pricing mobile Internet usage. Solís hoped to present his proposal at SUTEL’s hearing next week.

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