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Will my phone work in Costa Rica?

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Today the mobile phone has become an unseparable companion at our daily life. If we need to find something in the internet, we do it with our phone instead of turning on the computer; if we want to know how our loved ones are, it is really easy to contact them- thanks to our cellphone; and when we´re planning vacation, thanks to our phone we can find out the best options. So actually we are using our cellphones for everything! I think we can´t imagine anymore to be without a cellphone in our hand.


So if you are planning to visit Costa Rica, you might be interested in reading my blog, where you can find out if your cellphone will work, as well as some general infomation about the cellphone network in this beautiful country.

First of all we need to know if our phone is compatible with the telephone network of the country, or with other words, if your mobile phone is approved.

What is the homologation?

The homologation vertifies if the model of your phone was made for the correct use of a country, based on a series of tests companies use to check if their  products adapt to the necessary technical regulation.

Homologacion telefono costa rica

Foto taken from the website Flickr 

Where can I vertify if  the model of my phone is approved or if it counts with the necessary requirements to be used in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, the SUTEL (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones) has a webside where the users can see if their phones are approved. At the following website you can vertify your phone:


Important: This website is just in spanish.

En esta página es posible buscar de dos manera, primero digitando la marca de tu celular, mediante la cual se pueden verificar las listas de modelos homologados de cada una de las marcas, según publica la superintendencia; o bien lo puedes hacer mediante la consulta que utiliza el código identificador del celular, conocido como IMEI.

El IMEI, es como la huella digital que cada teléfono móvil tiene, y lo hace único. Sus siglas provienen del inglés y se llama International Mobile Equipment Identity, que en español es la  "identidad internacional de equipo móvil".

¿Cómo puedo ubicar el IMEI o número de identidad de mi celular?

Lo puedes hacer marcando el código *#06# en el teclado de tu celular: El IMEI aparecerá automáticamente en la pantalla.

Si no funciona haz clic en el menú "Ajustes", dentro de la opción "Acerca del teléfono" y ahí encontrarás. Otra alternativa para encontrar este número es buscándolo  en la caja del dispositivo, en la parte trasera de tu teléfono o en la bandeja de tu tarjeta SIM (si es un iPhone).

In this website you have two possibilities to search for information, first of all typing in the brand of your phone, so you can vertify the lists of approved models

The IMEI is like a digital fingerprint that every phone has, and it makes it unique. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity.

Where can I find the identity number of my mobile phone?

When you type the code *#06# at your phone, the IMEI will appear automatically on your screen.

If this doesn’t work, you can find it “settings” unter the option “about the phone”. Another way to find this number is to look for it on the back of the phone or at the SIM card (if it is an IPhone)

red telefonica costa rica

Photo taken from the webside Flickr 


Besides the homologation, what do I need to know? It is important to know some other dates like:

Telephone networks in Costa Rica

The networks run with 3G and 4G. The fastest ones are those with 4G, unfortunately the connection LTE (Long Term Evolution) of Costa Rica are slow, actually  they are one of the slowest in this area.

Which are the most known cellphone operators in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica there are 3 phone companies which are: Kölbi, Movistar and Claro


Where can I get a prepaid chip?

Fácilmente puedes conseguirlo en supermercados, puntos de venta autorizados, entre otros. Una vez que se te agote la carga, podrás realizar recargas en Supermercados,  algunas farmacias, en general es fácil localizar puntos de recarga, tan sólo busca los logos de Kolbi, Movistar o Claro.

You can easily get one at supermarkets, authorised vending pointsand others. Once your chip is discharged, you can recharge it at supermarkets and some pharmacies, actually it is easy to find the places to recharge your chip, because you just have to find the logo of Kölbi, Movistar or Claro.

Logo Kolbi red movil costa rica

Photo taken from the webside Flickr 

Many car rental companies include a prepaid chip with 60 minutes for national calls at their maximum coverage plan! If you are travelling with a rented car, make sure to ask at the agency if the service is included.

Which telephone operator is the best?

Easy, at the last studies it came out that the company that offers the best speed is Kölbi, with a charging time of 12.52 Mbps (Megabit per second)

On the other side we have the availability or coverage, where Movistar shows with 70.42 ms (microseconds) the best results, which means that they offer their users more that 70% of the time a good connection.

Unfortunately the company Claro shows not that favoring results.  

Red movil costa rica

Photo taken from the webside Flickr 


I hope my information has been useful for you are planning or you already have decided to visit Costa Rica. You can contact me; I am happy to give you more information about established rates for cellphone companies, recommendation to save your prepaid minutes; or the best way to travel conected to the internet.

Thursday, 09 May 2019 09:13 Written by Jennifer
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