ICE hopes to drive stake through TDMA March 3

The telecom agency has ordered the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad to embark on an advertising campaign to inform TDMA users that their cell phone service will be discontinued March 3.

This is the latest chapter in the travails of the company trying to shut down the service.

The estimated 8,000 telephone users were going to lose their lines Tuesday, but the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones intervened and said it wanted a more orderly system of disconnections.

The telecom company, known as ICE, has to advertise at least five times in two national newspapers and also put ads on television. In addition it must send text messages to each telephone user.

The new requirements appear to be a bit of overkill since everyone knows that the service is being shut down. The telecom company was even giving away free GSM system phones. It will continue to do so until March 3. After that former TDMA users will not have any compensation, according to the latest ruling.

The Superintendencia agreed that the system is obsolete. It started here in 1994.

But stay tuned. Costa Ricans love the Sala IV constitutional court, and there is a chance some lawyer will put an appeal before the court to stop the discontinuance of the system. A lot of problems rise to the level of constitutional concern.

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