By Cafe Fuerte

celulares-cubaHAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities have announced that mobile Internet services will be made available on the island in coming weeks and set a maximum rate of 1 Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) per megabyte of data transfer. (1 CUC = 1.14 USD)

Ministry of Communications Resolution No. 8 / 2014, published in Cuba’s Official Gazette last week, approved “the operation and rates for data access services for individuals and entities”, offered by the Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), indicating that post-paid commercial packages would become available within 30 days.

The resolution adds that pre-paid plans will come into effect during the third quarter of 2014.

“These services include the configuration of receiving equipment sold by ETECSA,” the resolution published on January 20 explained. The 1 CUC per megabyte rate does not cover installation and regular voice services.

“Even though the price established is the maximum rate, it is still extremely high,” Miami telecommunications consultant Jose Remon remarked.

Far Too Expensive

According to the expert, a user who accesses data services and social networks from their mobile phone consumes an average of 250 megabytes a month.

“Navigating the Internet using a mobile phone in Cuba is going to be too expensive for the average citizen, and the Cuban government is betting on the monetary contributions to be made from abroad,” Remon stated.

The resolution establishes that the current rate will be reviewed within a year.

At the beginning of the year, ETECSA announced that Cubans would be able to navigate the Internet using their mobile phones starting April.

According to this announcement, the measure is part of a series of new services which include access to email from cellular phones, the elimination of the obligatory 5-CUC credit recharge and the ability to transfer credit among users through the pre-payment system.

In January, ETECSA also announced that mobile phone bills could be paid from abroad.

Below is the full text (in Spanish) of Resolution 8 / 2014.

RESOLUCIÓN No. 8/2014

POR CUANTO: El Decreto No. 300, de fecha 11 de octubre de 2012, establece en su artículo 46, segundo párrafo que las tarifas máximas del servicio celular de telecomunicaciones móviles terrestres prestado a personas naturales, son propuestas por el Ministerio de Comunicaciones y aprobadas por el Ministro de Finanzas y Precios. Las posteriores tarifas de este servicio brindado a personas naturales, que disminuyan en relación con las tarifas máximas, son aprobadas por el Ministro de Comunicaciones.

POR CUANTO: Mediante la Resolución No. 383 de la Ministra de Finanzas y Precios, de fecha 20 de septiembre de 2013, se ratificaron, con carácter de máximas, las tarifas del servicio celular de telecomunicaciones móviles terrestres en pesos convertibles (CUC), a personas naturales, que se aplican por la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A., subordinada al Ministerio de Comunicaciones, incluyendo las aprobadas por la Resolución No. 67 del Ministro de Comunicaciones, de fecha 20 de abril de 2010, mediante la cual se aprobaron las condiciones de operación y el régimen tarifario para el acceso a servicios de datos y mensajería multimedia con tecnología mediante el Servicio General de Paquetes vía Radio, (GPRS, por sus siglas en inglés).

POR CUANTO: La evolución tecnológica realizada en la red celular de telecomunicaciones móviles terrestres de la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba, S.A., posibilita su utilización por un mayor número de usuarios a un menor costo, resulta necesario aprobar nuevas tarifas para el acceso a los servicios de datos prestados a personas naturales y jurídicas, ajustadas a dichas condiciones.

POR TANTO: En el ejercicio de las facultades conferidas, en el artículo 100 inciso a) de la Constitución de la República de Cuba;

R e s u e l v o:

PRIMERO: Aprobar las condiciones de operación y el régimen tarifario para el acceso a los servicios de datos prestados a personas naturales y jurídicas, por la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A., en lo adelante ETECSA, en las modalidades prepago y pospago, a través de la red celular de telecomunicaciones móviles terrestres y que se mencionan a continuación:

1. La tarifa máxima que se establece mediante el método de tráfico cursado es de un (1) peso convertible (CUC) por Mbyte transferido; y

2. la contratación de estos servicios incluye la configuración de los equipos terminales comercializados por ETECSA.

SEGUNDO: Corresponde a ETECSA:

1. Establecer en un plazo de treinta (30) días a partir de la fecha de entrada en vigor de la
presente Resolución, los planes comerciales a la modalidad de pospago, utilizando comotarifa máxima la que se establece en el apartado anterior, los que deben ser informados a la Dirección de Regulaciones y Normas del Ministerio de Comunicaciones dentro del plazo de quince (15) días posteriores a su establecimiento;

2. establecer en el tercer trimestre del año 2014, los planes comerciales a la modalidad de prepago, utilizando como tarifa máxima la que se establece en el Apartado anterior, los que deben ser informados a la Dirección de Regulaciones y Normas del Ministerio de Comunicaciones dentro del plazo de quince (15) días posteriores a su establecimiento; y

3. presentar transcurrido un (1) año a partir de la fecha de entrada en vigor de la presente Resolución, un análisis sobre la aplicación de la tarifa que por medio de la presente se aprueba y entregar a la Dirección de Regulaciones y Normas del Ministerio de Comunicaciones sus resultados.

TERCERO: Por el acceso móvil a redes corporativas, se aplican los cargos de  instalación y abono mensual correspondientes a los servicios de conectividad que sean necesarios para la interconexión de la red pública de transmisión de datos con la red de la persona jurídica que contrate el servicio, según las tarifas que estén vigentes al momento de la contratación.

CUARTO: Corresponde a la persona jurídica a la que pertenece cada red corporativa, la responsabilidad de designar y controlar la conexión de los usuarios autorizados a tener acceso a la red y aplicar las restantes medidas establecidas por el Reglamento de Seguridad para las Tecnologías de la Información.

QUINTO: Derogar la Resolución No. 67 del Ministro de Comunicaciones, de fecha 20 de abril de 2010.

NOTIFÍQUESE al Presidente Ejecutivo de la Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba, S. A.

COMUNÍQUESE a los viceministros, a los directores de Regulaciones y Normas y de Contabilidad, Precios y Estadística y al Director General de la Agencia de Control y Supervisión.

ARCHÍVESE el original en la Dirección Jurídica del Ministerio de Comunicaciones.

PUBLÍQUESE en la Gaceta Oficial de la República de Cuba.

Dada en La Habana, a los 20 días del mes de enero de 2014.

Maimir Mesa Ramos
Ministro de Comunicaciones


19 thoughts on “Cuba Sets Mobile Internet Rates

  • Far from being ignorant I am very well informed on the reality of the internet in Cuba from the first tenuous connection through the USA paid for by the a foundation sponsored by the current secretary of states wife to the Venezuela cable.

    I have heard all the lies from the lack of bandwidth to “preserving the Cuban children’s milk”.

    It is indeed obvious that SOME servers are connected to the internet and that they go though a gateway controlled by the regime that can control all access to data.

    All data goes though the cable in Siboney and the regime controls all access to that cable. It specifically disallows internet satellite connections that would bypass the gateway.

    Secondly: it is a known fact that Cuban and China cooperate on the “Great Cuba / Cina Firewall” and that similar software is installed in Cuba.
    The AvilaLink “information management” program is widely deployed on sites with computers.

    Thirdly: all ISP have to comply with local laws. In Cuba there is only ONE ISP that is controlled by the regime that also created the repressive laws.

    Fourth: my statement that all data passes though the control of the ONE ISP provider that is controlled by the state that controls the ONE link to Internet backbone (Siboney) is correct and proves my point. In other countries various ISP providers can have their own direct links to the backbone of the WWW. Other countries also allow independent satellite connections (widely used in remote areas) to the WWW bypassing the local backbone connections. Cuba prohibits these.

    Fifth: Cuba does use filting software both at the local level (AvilaLink) and at the backbone access cooperating with China on the firewalls. Getting though it is possible to create “holes” that allow VOIP and access to “freedom servers”, but that is pretty hard.

    In short: I have refuted all your so-called arguments one by one.

  • Lol, that comments shows astounding ignorance on the subject.

    First, is bloody obvious that SOME servers are connected to the rest of the world, otherwise no one ever could establish an outside connection and I KNOW for a fact that is possible since I’ve done so using roaming services in the past plus I’ve also tested several networks and verified that they actually have internet access.

    Second, the Cuban government does NOT have the hardware necessary to filter the traffic at national level in real time. What they can DO is bind sites they don’t want to faux IP addresses to make them unavailable to all requests from within Cuba, but any tech savvy person can circumvent that without too many issues AND in the tests I’ve done I can confirm that most sites critical to the government are generally available.

    Third: all ISP EVERYWHERE in the world MUST OBEY THE LOCAL LAWS. There is no ifs and buts: is obey the law or get out of the business, so every government has ABSOLUTE control of what their internet providers can and cannot serve to their users. Whenever individual governments choose to force ISPs to abide to an arbitrary set of guidelines or not is a different issue.

    Fourth: your statement that all traffic passes thorough Cuba and that means it is an intranet is tremendously stupid, under that criteria there is no such thing as internet since ALL traffic EVERYWHERE passes through your local provider AND your local network. The fact that all my traffic goes thorough my router doesn’t mean that I’m not connected to internet.

    Fifth: Even if Cuba were to implement a Chinese style great firewall -that they don’t and they can’t at this time- that doesn’t mean they don’t provide internet access. No matter what is the target of their alleged censorship, the VAST MAJORITY of internet will NOT be blocked and will be available to their citizens.

    Lastly, filtering content is not intellectual property of repressive governments. Most countries do in a way or another, mostly for valid reasons like child porn, illegal drug trafficking sites, copyright violations, etc. Generally speaking it doesn’t work, but they DO try, here there is an example from UK:

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2010/dec/20/web-filtering-will-not-work

  • Cuba has an Intranet for the whole country.
    All servers are connected to it. Access to Internet is limited and even there controlled.
    One government controlled provider controls all access. The intranet is indeed selectively conned to the internet for some users and even there with limitations blocking access.
    All access passes though the Cuba = Intranet servers.
    That is the issue: it are the controlled Intranet servers that are connected to by any internet in Cuba be it fixed or mobile.
    Note that the central authority in Cuba controls what people that are allowed by the system – under strict rules – can access. It is the “Chinese firewall” that decides what someone can see. As such central control remains the most pervasive.

  • Certainly you have some serious issues if you take a clarification about an explicit point made in the article with a vague implication that you didn’t read it as an insult.

    An INTRANET a specific term for a network limited to an organization or in this case a country aka, a private internet. As long as you can reach data OUTSIDE of an network you are not constrained by it, so in that context you are not longer in it.

    As long as you reach an outside network you can establish a secure connection with the host and perform point to point encryption, so even if the government is sniffing the raw traffic it is encrypted and breaking the encryption is not trivial.

    Besides, most of the internet access control in Cuba happens at the point of entry (aka, the individual providers: workplaces, schools, internet cafes, etc.), not at a country level and the most common form of control for individuals are trace logging and the requirement of ID cards when using public access.

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