HAVANA TIMES — The promotional message which ETECSA (Cuba’s monopoly telephone company) sent to mobile users recently illustrates why I don’t own a cell phone. The message read, verbatim: “If you add 20 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos) of credit to your line from April 15 to 19, you will receive 40 CUC of credit.”
The offer is valid only if you purchase a 20 CUC prepaid card.
I got very upset when my brother read me the message. Why? Because there are people who don’t have a land line at home and use mobile phones, making great sacrifices to pay for their lines.
The offer may be tempting for those who can pay such a sum of money, in a country where salaries are paid in a currency that, though just as Cuban as the other, is different from the one mentioned in the message, where the monthly salary of the average worker is shy of 20 CUC.
I am left to wonder what ETECSA’s intentions could be with this deal. Can any Cuban worker actually benefit from it? Who is the offer aimed at?
I don’t think any of this is hard to understand, even when it comes disguised with good intentions. If you only have 5, 7 or even 10 CUC, you don’t qualify – it’s only for those who have 20 CUC they can spend.
It’s that easy.
Mobile phones, as we know, have ceased to be luxury and become a necessity in many parts of the world. When one has a look at ETECSA’s offer, one realizes that, in Cuba, it is still a luxury – at least for us workers, who have no real options.
Many working mothers who need to be in touch with their children, at school, at a hospital or anywhere, cannot benefit from this offer. Nor can the elderly who don’t have landlines at home and use mobile phones.
I don’t understand why the minimum purchase for these offers has to be so high. They seem to be designed for Cuba’s rich. Can’t the company analyze the situation and make more affordable offers which needn’t double the credit amount?
This would be very good for the majority, which does not have that kind of money and would be able to enjoy some of the advantages of having more phone credit.