Sutel begins measuring ICE's mobile service quality

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Costa Rican telecoms regulator Sutel has begun measuring the quality of cell phone services provided by state power and telecom utility ICE due to user complaints, local newspaper La Nacion reported.

Using special equipment, Sutel will measure the signal and coverage of ICE's mobile telephony networks throughout Costa Rica. The evaluation will cover all three of the mobile networks that ICE operates - TDMA, GSM and 3G.

After Sutel has the results of the evaluation, the regulator will determine whether to open a case against ICE. According to Sutel president George Miley, the watchdog will ask ICE to compensate each subscriber if it is determined that poor service affected users.

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One of the most recent and common problems affecting users is that when a call is placed, the system indicates that the number is out of service, or that there is no connection. Additionally, ICE recently recognized failures in its GSM network, operated by Swedish network infrastructure provider Ericsson, that affected the San Jose metropolitan area and rural zones.

In December, the same GSM network collapsed and left 600,000 users without mobile service. In defense of ICE, company spokesperson Elbert Duran said it had immediately asked Ericsson to correct the problems.

Sutel has received frequent complaints about the service, and users' anger has manifested on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.