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April 12th, 2011
Over history, I suppose most monopolies were not good for their customers…. certainly some of the early ones in the US were not. One exception we old folks remember was AT&T and their technical arm, Bell Laboratories. They provided world class telephone service and technology that most certainly allowed the USA to become a worldwide business and technological powerhouse. They offered excellent services, excellent customer support, excellent technology and all at an excellent price.
However… The thing about being a monopoly is that, if you want to, you can pretty much give the finger to your customers every day for years and know they must just accept the insult. There is no option. You own the marbles and anyone who wants to play must play by your rules. You set the (cellular) rates (which, by the way and in the case of ICE are REALLY very good!), and make all the rules your customers must obey if they want to have cell phone service.
Now in some cases, the customers do not know they are being maltreated because there is no other option, so they believe this is as good as it gets! Let the learning curve begin!
The bad things about being a monopoly, though, is that for good or bad, your monopoly can end, in this case as a result of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The bigger bad thing is that a lot of those customers that you mistreated and abused for many years have long memories.
Interested in this topic? Read on!Apple iPhone, CAFTA, Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, ICE, The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), TLC | Comments (9)
April 8th, 2011
Many years ago in a universe far, far away, I was one of the very early Apple dealers in the US. In fact, it was so many years ago that Apple did not even sell directly to its dealers. It used distributors. Yeah, I am that old… ugh. I was also a dealer when Apple fired its distributors and took all dealer sales direct. Now the one thing that has not materially changed in all those many years is Apple’s position toward technical support and customer service. They do NOT screw around. It is a huge priority at Apple and regardless of whether you by an iPad, Mac, an iPhone or any Apple branded product, you will get the best support and service available on earth. Don’t believe me? Try a web search for something like “Best & worst computer tech support” or “Best & worst (technical) customer service”. You’ll see.
So you can imagine my surprise when I open Costa Rica’s major newspaper, LA NACIÓN, this morning to be greeted by a couple of articles telling me how Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the state telephone and Internet monopoly, is telling everyone that ICE will soon be authorized to sell the iPhone 4 by Apple.
Interested in my two cents? Read on!Apple iPhone, CAFTA, Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, Free Trade Agreement, ICE, Technical Stuff, TLC | Comments (6)
April 7th, 2011
I am sure one of the jobs of any United States Embassy regardless of location is to constantly evaluate the host country in terms of law, infrastructure, political persuasion, stability, attitude towards the USA, geographical considerations and probably a bunch of other stuff of which I have no idea…. like maybe the cool spy stuff! They likely collect info in many ways, but I am not at all sure of the accuracy of their sources.
In fact, one of my favorite sources for pretty excellent info regarding Costa Rica is the good ol’ CIA! Their World Factbook Costa Rica is handy and is quite accurate. A lot of the info can be really useful to folks studying Costa Rica, planning to move or relocate here, considering opening or moving a business operation to the country and for many other reasons.
Costa Rica newspaper La Nacion recently made a deal with those idiots at Wikileaks to get copies of various cables sent by various US diplomats to the State Department that pertain to Costa Rica. If you wish to download a copy of the cable I will be discussing, just click here. Now when you do that, you will supposed see the actual document submitted 4 April 2007, by Laurie Weitzenkorn, an official of Public Affairs U.S. Embassy, but other news sources (La Nacion etc) have published lists of comments that do not appear on that document and while I am pretty sure they are accurate, I have not been able to track down the actual Wikileaks document. All have been published in various online or actual newspapers. The comments by Weitzenkorn and others are a few years old, and perhaps my readers would like to know my thoughts as to whether some of these issues are still valid. Cables like these give the viewpoint of a single person whom we do not know. Did they live here for a a few weeks. months or years? Where did they get their info? Was/is it biased? Quien sabe?
Anyway, here are excerpts… some topics I think might be of the most general interest. If interested, read on!CAFTA, Costa Rica, Driving in Costa Rica, Free Trade Agreement, ICE, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica, TLC, Travel, Wikileaks Costa Rica | Comments (7)
November 27th, 2009
As many of my readers know, there are two cell phone systems here. One is called TDMA, also known ss “the old system” and equally accurate, “The system that actually works!”.
The second is GSM and truly is lousy, but requires a more expensive phone that is more sexy, and everyone knows, women go for a guy with a sexy phone even if it does not work. The GSM system was installed by Alcatel a French company, apparently after they paid a few bribes to various government and ICE officials. As a matter of fact, January marks the month for the trial of still another ex-president of Costa Rica who alledgedly accepted the chorizo (bribe). Costa Rica seems to routinely send ex-presidents to jail, the last one just a few weeks ago!
So what is happening? If this topic interests you, read on!CAFTA, Cell Phones, Costa Rica, Free Trade Agreement, ICE | Comments (10)
August 14th, 2009
For a long time, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE and pronounced EEEE-SAY) has enjoyed a monopoly on a wide variety of services. The two biggies are communications (cell and home phone service) and Internet connectivity. The end began with the passage and ratification of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) then last year the Ley General de Telecommunicaciones broke monopoly on telephone and internet services in Costa Rica enjoyed by ICE.
A lot of people think that now there will be wholesale changes now that ICE will face competition. I am not so sure… at least in the short term. Let’s examine what has been happening. If this topic interests you, read on!CableTica, CAFTA, Cell Phones, Communications, Costa Rica, Costa Rica Law, ICE, Internet, RACSA, Technical Stuff | Comments (22)
July 10th, 2008
I received another comment yesterday and again I have decided to reply here as I think more people read the posts than the comments. OK OK… it is sort of another rant and probably should have been posted on July 4th, but here it is. It started out as a simply enough reply… then grew. However as my readers know, at times my self control fails me…which might be why I am not exactly thin!
Ohhh. Haters of the USA or those embarrassed to be an American will probably find this post not to their liking.
Below is a comment sent in yesterday and the stimulous for this reply. If my response might interest you… read on!
I don’t want to come off as a conspiracy theorist, but I do find it to be interesting that this is a problem for you now. My point, a lot of people are disenchanted, to say the least, regarding the current political, economic, etc… here in the US, and are hoping to relocate. Well maybe the powers that be prefer this not to be so easy to do. And therefore prefer not to have someone help make this possible, meaning you. You provide us with the much appreciated, and needed info. Seems as though with the recent CAFTA activity, that Costa Rica wanting to do trade with the US, is going to be pressured to do whatever Uncle Sam asks of them. Remember the disintegration of the middle class, means the corporate big wigs need all the slaves to stay here and consume in order for them to continue to make a profit. Now if we want to live elswhere, we are not here to keep them nice and fat. Ok, after previewing my post, I have to admit I do sound like a nut, or do I? (twilight zone music plays in background).
CAFTA, Costa Rica, Election 2008, Expatriate Life, Free Trade Agreement, Gas Prices, Gasoline, Immigration & Residency, Life in Costa Rica, Opinion, Rants, Retire in Costa Rica, TLC | Comments (19)
July 9th, 2008
Tonight I received a comment from a reader… and it pushed my rant button. I may be completely reading the comment incorrectly and assuming a wrong tone or meaning… and if I am, I apologize now… but the rant is still coming as I am replying to many others who I am sure I read correctly!
Here is her email, and if the topic interests you (and you can deal with my rant)… read on!
CAFTA, Cost of Living, Cost Of Living Costa Rica, Costa Rica, Free Trade Agreement, ICE, Internet, Opinion, Politics, Questions from Readers, Rants, TLC | Comments (20)
My family plans to relocate to Costa Rica, and I would like to know what your thoughts are regarding the recent activity by the Costa Rican Congress ending it’s 84 year old insurance, and telecom monopoly (CAFTA). How do you think this is going to effect the citizens of Costa Rica that have enjoyed a universal health care system, and what do you think the implications are for Americans residig in Costa Rica, that have been able to partake in this system?.