The cost of basic phone service in Costa Rica will rise by 83 percent in the coming weeks, the SUTEL telecoms industry regulator said in a statement.

Costa Ricans currently pay a minimum fee of $3.60 a month for basic phone service, which gives them the right to make 160 minutes of calls.

That cost will rise to approximately $6.60 a month, SUTEL said, although each operator will determine the total number of minutes covered by that basic rate.

This increase will apply to both fixed-line phone service in people's homes and to Voice over IP telephony.

The regulator also approved a 33 percent decrease in the rate for calls between a fixed line and a cellular phone, from $0.06 per minute to $0.04 per minute.

"The rate for fixed telephony has been unchanged since 2004, and after a careful analysis we believe this rate rebalancing was necessary for the market and users," SUTEL's Walther Herrera said.

Under the new rate regime, which will go into effect after being published in the official gazette, the average Costa Rican household will see its monthly bill for fixed-line calls rise 25.3 percent from $13.80 to $17.30. EFE