Sutel is Investigating 200 Complaints of Cellphone Blocking


The Superintendent of Telecommunications (Sutel) investigates allegations of at least 200 blocks in cell phone service.

The complaints were filed by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Movistar and Claro, who received reports of customers who could not make calls in certain sectors.

According to a news release issued by the Sutel, the problem is that third party devices installed are blocking the signal.

“Clients report that companies from one place, can not make calls and when measurements are made, they realize that there is a blocker. They emit a noise out to not allow communication.” said Eduardo Castellón, spokesman for the Sutel.

He warned that in the case of a prohibited device, the Superintendent will remove all equipment of this nature that is discovered.

General Telecommunications Law prohibits the installation and use of equipment that affect the conditions and quality of telecommunications services in public areas.

However, according to Castellon, the legislation does not establish any kind of punishment for those who commit this fault.

“No penalties, but Article 69 of the Act requires Sutel to take action and remove the equipment with the collaboration of the security forces.” said Castellon.

There is only locking of the telephony signal in places like prisons.

However there are prisoners who have access to cell phones and authorities have had difficulties to install filters for the signal at prisons such as La Reforma, as there are residential areas near the center which could be affected.

In addition, special equipment for prisons cost $200,000 (¢ 103 million) and $ 1 million (over ¢ 512 million) – confirmed Jairo Villegas – journalist.

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