Costa Rican telco Grupo ICE has received a $300 million line of credit from EXIM Bank, the official export credit agency of the US federal government, for the development of 5G services.
The state-owned Grupo ICE's mobile division Kolbi has yet to launch 5G services in the country, with BNC Americas previously reporting that 5G services aren't expected in Costa Rica until 2024 at the earliest.
Grupo ICE received the line credit last month via a letter of interest. The offer was made to Grupo ICE president Marco Acuna in Washington DC, during a session with Marisa Lago, US Undersecretary of Commerce, which was also attended by representatives of the US Embassy in Costa Rica.
In recent times Grupo ICE has been caught up in a dispute with the government over unused spectrum in and around the 3,500MHz band, with an agreement recently reached that has seen frequencies in the 3,400MHz-3,500MHz and 3,600MHz-3,625MHz bands returned to the state.
It's expected that a tender for 5G frequencies will be issued within 18 months, while Costa Rica has frequencies available in the 700MHz band and other portions in higher bands that could also be included in the bidding process.