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December 18th, 2005
Costa Rica signed a contract with the Ericsen folks to update the GSM cell phone systems in Costa Rica. This was in the wake of the scandal that sent three ex-presidents to jail for allegedly accepting bribes from the French company that originally installed the OLD GSM system that never worked worth a hoot.
I have ranted in The Real Costa Rica and elsewhere that the GSM system here is pretty useless, so it was only fair that after the NEW and IMPROVED GSM system went into operation on the 5th of December this month, I take a GSM phone out for a test drive.
Whatta surprise! They STILL don’t work!
GSM is the “new” technology. The phones are more expensive and some are equipped to read email and browse the Internet. Sadly, those services do not work well either. They ARE more sexy though than the older TDMA technology.
My wife and I have been looking for new furniture for the patio, so I made about 10 trips throughout the Central Valley to various places where they make rattan, wicker and other stuff. I also dropped my wife at a hotel (Alta) and later retrieved her. In between, I returned home to where I live near Cariari. This gave me a great opportunity to test the new system.
For testing, I used a brand new Motorola GSM phone.
I found this new phone did not work in:
San Antonio de Belen
Hotel Alta outside the reception area (outdoors)
The autopista general canas (Panamerican highway to Panama and Nicaragua) in numerous spots and
Numerous parts of Heredia.
It also did not work in my home, but worked in my driveway… sort of.
Side note: I also took my personal phone (TDMA technology) and that phone worked perfectly in every one of the locations above.
Not surprisingly, a recently published report indicates folks are not happy with the cell phone coverage and of course that means the NEW and IMPROVED GSM phones.
For those of you living or moving to Costa Rica and intend to buy a cell phone or those who intend to rent a cellphone for your trip here, INSIST on the OLD (but very much functional) TDMA phone. You will be very unhappy if you do not.
Exception! The area around Dominical is the exception! GSM phones actually work there, but the others do not.Filed under Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, ICE, Life in Costa Rica, Technical Stuff, Travel | Comments (6)