GSMA and Costa Rican Operators Commit to a Safer Mobile Environment

Supported by the GSMA, Sutel and the Deputy Ministry of
Telecommunications, Claro, ICE and Telefónica Pledge to Tackle Mobile
Phone Theft and Promote Greater User Accessibility

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mobile operators today announced a series of new initiatives as part of
the WeCare Costa Rica campaign run by the GSMA to provide a safer and
more reliable environment for all mobile users. Operators Claro, ICE and
Telefónica will work together to fight mobile phone theft as well as
facilitate greater accessibility for consumers with disabilities with
the support of Costa Rica’s telecoms regulator, Superintendencia de
Telecomunicaciones (Sutel), and the Deputy Ministry of

There are currently more than 7.6 million mobile connections in Costa
Rica, of which almost 37 per cent are smartphone connections1.
4G deployment is also rapidly expanding and is forecast to leap from
126,000 connections at the end of 2015 to more than two million by 2020.

“Strong growth in the Costa Rican mobile market demonstrates how mobile
technology can be put to good use by working proactively to help solve
some of the country’s social problems,” said Sebastián Cabello, Head of
GSMA Latin America.

Today in San José, a letter of commitment was signed between Carlos Ríos
Briceño, Country Manager at Claro Costa Rica; Jaime Palermo Quesada,
Head of Telecommunications at ICE; Jorge Abadía, Country Manager at
Telefónica Costa Rica; Gilbert Camacho Mora, President of the Board at
Sutel; Emilio Arias Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of
Costa Rica; and Sebastián Cabello on behalf of the GSMA.

The latest initiatives to form part of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign

Reducing Handset Theft

Handset theft is one of the most common crimes in Costa Rica; in March
2012 it became the first country in Latin America to connect all its
mobile operators to the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity
(IMEI) database2, which shares information about stolen
mobile phones globally.

In the latest move to tackle mobile device theft and trafficking between
countries, Sutel today agreed to implement GSMA’s IMEI Device Check.
This system will enable Costa Rican consumers to check the Sutel website
in real time when buying a handset, to see whether it appears on the
global list of stolen mobile devices. The blacklist on the GSMA IMEI
database is updated every day through reports from more than 100
operators around the world, including 45 operators in 16 Latin American

Supporting Disabled Consumers

According to data from 20113, almost 11 per cent (452,859) of
the Costa Rican population has some kind of disability and requires
support to improve their quality of life. Claro, ICE and Telefónica
signed an agreement with the Mobile Manufacturers Forum to improve
access from their websites to the data system of the Global
Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI)4. The system
enables users to identify mobile handsets in their area that offer
services designed to assist users with disabilities.

The three mobile operators also agreed to continue exploring further
activities of common interest that could help to improve citizens’
quality of life, as a second phase of the WeCare Costa Rica campaign. In
2014, mobile operators waived call charges to the 1147 child helpline,
run by Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (National Child Welfare
Institute – PANI).

Supporting Statements

Emilio Arias Rodriguez, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications of
Costa Rica:
“Mobile penetration has reached 151 per cent in Costa
Rica, and this trend is set to continue. In this context, and as we work
to build an integrated, inclusive and caring society, it is essential to
keep taking action to enable every citizen, without exception, to have
access to affordable, quality telecommunications services through the
development of infrastructure that supports sustainable, efficient,
secure and robust mobile networks. These networks will also be key to
enabling people to develop their skills and knowledge, in particular
those people who are the most vulnerable, through productive, safe and
meaningful use of these tools.”

Jaime Palermo, Telecommunications Manager, ICE: “These
initiatives reaffirm our commitment with actions to help support the
efforts of the Costa Rican government to ensure better security and
increased accessibility of services for the entire population. In ICE we
believe that technology is key to economic and social development and
should contribute to the protection of the rights of Costa Ricans.”

Carlos Rios Briceño, Country Director, Claro Costa Rica: “Claro’s
philosophy is to be part of the solutions to the needs of our customers.
We care about the lives of Costa Ricans, which is why we are celebrating
this agreement for WeCare Costa Rica. We trust that this will be the
start of many steps towards improving the quality of life of mobile

Jose Pablo Rivera, Regulatory Manager, Telefónica Movistar Costa Rica:
“Telefónica Movistar joined the WeCare Costa Rica campaign because we
strongly believe that ICTs are key to improving people’s quality of
life. For past three years, we have worked closely with 800 operators
worldwide to block stolen mobile phones and to discourage these types of
crimes from being committed. This agreement allows us to support Costa
Rica through Telefónica Group’s various initiatives in the area of
disability and which aim to promote social inclusion.”

Gilbert Camacho, President, Sutel: “One of Sutel’s objectives is
the protection of users’ rights. This led to us signing an agreement
with the GSMA in 2012 to discourage the theft of mobile phones; in fact
Costa Rica was the first Latin American country to implement the
initiative. Today we are taking a further step to provide new tools for
users to combat this problem. We believe that through initiatives like
WeCare Costa Rica, we can build a better country.”

About WeCare

The GSMA’s WeCare campaign was launched by Latin American operators to
ensure all consumers can enjoy the transformational benefits of mobile
technology in a safe and secure environment. To achieve this, operators
joined forces to make a series of commitments in every country in the
region where mobile phones and networks can provide solutions to social
problems. The WeCare campaign has already been launched in Bolivia,
Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico
and Nicaragua, and will continue to expand throughout the region.


Notes to Editors

1 Source: GSMA Intelligence, December 2015

2 To access the latest information about handset theft in
Latin America and the GSMA IMEI database please visit

3 Data from the report “Approach to the situation of children
and adolescents with disabilities in Costa Rica” by the Second Vice
Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica, Nationality Council of
Rehabilitation and Special Education (CNREE) and the United Nations
Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Costa Rica, July 2014.

4 More information about the Global Accessibility Reporting
Initiative (GARI) is available at

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies,
equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading
events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and
the Mobile 360 Series conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA


For the GSMA
Tatiana Cantoni (Brazil)
+55 11 95210-2225
Press Office