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December 24, 2020updated 10 Dec 2021 6:24am

Telcos investment in LTE/ LTE-A will support growth in mobile subscriptions

By GlobalData Technology

Total mobile subscriptions in Costa Rica will reach 8.3 million by 2020-end, and will account for a share of 1.2% of the total mobile subscriptions in the Latin America region. Over the next five years, the total mobile subscription will remain flat, bringing the country’s total mobile subscriptions to 8.2 million by the end of 2025.

3G will be the leading mobile technology with 47.7% share of the total mobile subscriptions in 2020, however, we expect 3G’s share to decline drastically over the forecast period to reach 17.3% by 2025, as users will migrate to adopt 4G/5G services. 4G subscriptions will grow to account for an estimated 78.7% share of the total mobile subscriptions by 2025, driven by 4G network expansions by major MNOs such as ICE (Kolbi). We expect the first commercial launches of 5G services will take place in 2023.

Mobile subscriptions by technology generation, 2019-2025. Source: GlobalData.

To support the increasing coverage of mobile services, major mobile operators are investing in LTE/LTE-A network expansions. In fact, Claro is currently executing an investment plan for $850 million to support 4G network expansion during 2019, 2020 and 2021. Moreover, after Millicom terminated the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Movistar, Liberty Latin America agreed to buy Movistar Costa Rica in an all-cash transaction valued at $500 million. Although the transaction is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals, Liberty Latin America announced investments to upgrade and extend the LTE network in the country for the upcoming years. Meanwhile, ICE (Kolbi) is reinforcing its 4G/LTE network infrastructure across the country in order to cope with the increasing demand for mobile data services. ICE has deployed a total of 194 new 4G cell sites in 28 cities in 2020, making the total count of 4G sites to 11,780, covering 98.1% at the end of August 2020.