How do smartphone services work in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica are 3 main service providers; “Kolbi” (by ICE) which is the national telecommunications company, but also “Claro” and “Movistar” are settled in the country, known in North, Central and South America, Caribbean countries, and some European countries.

An unlocked cell phone will work in Costa Rica. But remember to call your wireless provider before you go to add global roaming capabilities to your plan. You can also buy a SIM prepaid card and use your unlocked cell phone in Costa Rica. A local line is not required to dial 9-1-1 just in case of emergency.

Smartphone service plans work conveniently for students. There are many service plans based on customer preferences, but we can mention the 2 more common and used by students.

  • Post-paid” service plan can be acquired through contracts when purchasing new smartphones if needed (smartphone + phone calling/data plan) with contracts that are extended for several months or years and according to each customer preferences. But also calling and internet/data service plans can be purchased without smartphone device. Fixed monthly costs are subject to terms of use and service conditions. More formalization documents will be necessary for this contract service. If you decide to get this service, you should make sure to end the contract before leaving the country. This service can be purchased at any of the authorized branches/markets throughout the country.
  • On the other hand, and the most convenient for student purposes is the “pre-paid” service plan, which is easier to get (only passport needed) and which you can have better control of your expenses. This service plan allows you to credit your mobile account/number with the amount of your preference (starting 1000 CRC (2 USD approx.)) and do it every time your balance runs out. This service allows you to easily check your balances from your smartphone. You will also have the option of crediting your account/phone number in any of the authorized markets physically (by cash) or through official online payment platforms (credit or debit cards). This service can be purchased at any of the authorized branches/markets throughout the country.