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January 13th, 2009
As most of you know, I am generally not a fan of ICE, the nation’s soon to be ex-communications monopoly, but although they are, as usual, about three years late, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) finally gave China’s Huawei Technologies the preliminary OK for a 235-million-dollar contract to install a third-generation (3G) system for 935,000 customers in Costa Rica.
Final approval must come from the Comptroller (Costa Rica’s equivalent to the General Accounting Office) before the deal is finalized. Huawei won in a bidding war against Sweden’s Ericcson and China rival ZTE Corporation
The 3G move will give mobile users access to high-end data applications on their phones, including high-speed interactive gaming and Internet access, prepaid video- localization, video, multimedia messaging, voice and data roaming, video conferencing, video streaming and other multimedia features. Apple’s popular iPhone uses the 3G technology. ICE has stated that the new lines and service will be available by the end of 2009, though I am skeptical of that. ICE ha a poor track record for meeting deadlines.
As everyone knows, the current GSM system is just horrible with crummy coverage and cut-off services everywhere. It also supports voice mail only in Spanish which annoys a lot of foreigners.
I am still unclear exactly what ICE bought for $235 million. Obviously the system itself, but I am also presuming praying that they are finally going to put up a ton of new towers as the coverage area for GSM is just horrendous! ICE promises better coverage but…. Quien sabe?
I am also hoping that unlike the Alcatel deal (the company that installed the faulty GSM system while making a LOT of polititions and executives quite rich) this will be a clean deal… no payoffs.
The little i have heard of Huawei has all been good and they certainly have the experince and expertise to get it done. Now… if ICE can just let them do it….Filed under Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, ICE, Internet, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica | Comments (8)