Second step in cellular competition planned for Friday

The telecom agency will open Friday the financial offers of the two firms still interested in providing cell telephone service here. This is the second step of the bidding process.
Last Dec. 14 each firm presented two envelopes. One contained technical information and the second contained financial proposals. The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones expected more suitors for the three sets of cellular bandwidth being offered.

But only the two firms, Claro CR Telecomunicaciones and Azules y Platas, did so. They are the local manifestations of the Mexican firm Claro and the Spanish firm Telefónica.

The technical information appears to have been satisfactory, and the firms passed to the second step.

Friday at 6:30 p.m. telecom officials will open the envelope containing the financial information in a public event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Escazú. Already established is that each firm will have to put up at least $70 million for the radio spectrum.
The Superintendencia considers the money the price of admission to set up a business here. But the money eventually will come from those who subscribe to the services offered by the firms.

If the firms eventually obtain a concession they will compete with the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. The opening up of the mobil bandwidths to private firms is a product of the Central American Free Trade Treaty.

There is a possibility that both firms are seeking the same set of bandwidths. In that case the company with the proposal considered most profitable will be the winner.

In the slim chance that both firms will see the same set of bandwidths and submit identical financial proposals, company executives will be at the Friday session to sweeten the offer if they desire, said the Superintendencia.

The Superintendencia does not approve a bandwidth concession. Its recommendations are turned over to the executive branch, which will formalize the 15-year agreements.

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