Cuba’s Telecommunications Monopoly Still in a Tight Spot

Luis Rondón Paz

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s new mobile phone email service continues to be highly deficient owing to “jamming of the lines”, and no announcement as when this will be fixed has been made.

I have sporadically contacted CUBACEL’s customer services line to let them know the problems I’m having. I have informed them of the difficulties I’ve encountered whenever I try to send an email using my cell’s Nauta account, and that there are times during the day when text (SMS) messages cannot be sent, take long to be delivered and sometimes never reach the addressee (even though the nine cents are still deducted from my balance).

Repeatedly, they have replied that “the servers are jammed and changes to the technical infrastructure have been made recently. Please be patient, we’re working on it.”

Cuba’s telecommunications company (ETECSA-CUBACEL) broadened its range of services for the population some time ago. Some of the more noteworthy changes were the possibility of accessing the Internet and sending emails from computers at newly-opened centers of this State monopoly, and an email service (Nauta) for mobile phones. The latter was quite novel for Cubans and promised to make communication quicker and more affordable, provided customers limited themselves to sending messages and photos no larger than one Megabyte.

That was the idea, but reality proved entirely different. The quality of the email service offered by Nauta in recent weeks is one case in point. According to ETECSA officials, problems affecting the quality of the service have been reported since September 3. I know, however, that the problems began well before, having long experienced difficulties sending and receiving emails using my mobile phone.

This past 8th of September, I again phoned Customer Services in the hopes of getting some good news. Unfortunately, when I got through, the operator informed me that, currently, the company does not know whether there will be any immediate solution to the poor quality of mobile phone services – services, incidentally, that are charged in hard currency.


24 thoughts on “Cuba’s Telecommunications Monopoly Still in a Tight Spot

  • September 20, 2014 at 7:50 am
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    You should read other news sources, Fox says a lie for every 2 sentences it broadcasts. There was no invasion by Russia, at best Russians with military experience joined the rebels. If the Russians had invaded Ukraine would have been annexed completely, ISIS is armed with US provided weapons, Lybia is a mess thanks to the US, Somalia and Yemen are a mess…at least Cuba send doctors! Only the US defense industry benefits from war. Most of the military “experts” in Fox and CNN are connected to the defense industry, i urge you to read broadly…

  • September 19, 2014 at 7:31 am
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    Carlyle, over two years ago I had the opportunity at a public meeting to ask the Cuban ambassador, Her Excellency Esther G. Armenteros Cárdenas in London what was the problem with the Venezuelan cable and why it did not improve services. Saying she did not know she took my email address and said she would be in touch. I am still waiting.

  • September 19, 2014 at 7:10 am
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    Rodrigvm, what help are Cuban doctors in protecting against against iSIS fascism or against the Russian soldiers occupying parts of Ucraine and making people’s lives a misery? Raul is pretty useless here as well.

  • September 17, 2014 at 12:47 am
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    Sinn Fein and the UK had both experienced significant losses which provided leaders from both sides the political cover to sit down to negotiate without appearing weak. The US has lost nothing of significance with our relationship with Cuba. If a sitting President of the US were to sit down with a despotic regime like the Castros, it would serve to give credibility to the Castros and make that US President seem weak. You may not like this perspective or see it as fair but it is the reality that we are dealing with. The Castros want to sit down with the US for just this reason. They don’t need to find compromise to win. They can simply say that the US was unwilling to bend. They walk away having tried and are strengthened internationally. On the other hand if the US President can’t even get piss-ant Cuba to bend it’s will toward US interests, how can the US be depended on to negotiate World peace with a regional power like Russia. Finally, the US does not have a problem with the Cuban revolution per se. Nice try though. Our problem is with the dictatorial totalitarian regime that surfaced after the revolution. There is a difference.

  • September 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm
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    It surely can’t be that difficult for the US to recognize the Cuban government and begin negotiations. The UK government sat down with Sinn Fein ten years after the IRA bombed the Conservative conference killing some of the cabinet and injuring others for life. In comparison Cuba has done very little to the US. Every other country in the world has recognized the Cuban government so it isn’t like they are doing anything outrageous. And thirdly Jimmy Carter pretty much did most of the work already. It’s a great tragedy that the opening he started got undermined by events.

    A rule of successful negotiations is that you can’t make pre-conditions on the outcome and you can’t have winners or losers. Each side has to come away as winners that have made realistic concessions. But you are right that in the end the problem is the US and its inability to come to terms with the Cuban revolution.

  • September 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm
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    Yes, Raul has said “let’s sit down”. The problem the US has with sitting down with despots is a complicated one. Simply by doing so, the Castro regime is given credibility. Countless Cubans thrusted their chests out after hearing that Raul got to shake hands with President Obama. Imagine the validation the regime receives if Raul got to sit down and actually talk to Obama. That said, it could actually take place but only after it was made clear that in the end, democracy must come to Cuba. If not and the Castros came away with concessions but no democracy for the Cuban people, they would be the clear winners. You may not like it but at the end of the day, it is about winners and losers.

  • September 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm
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    Yes dani! It would have given Cubans access to the same information that you and I enjoy. That was the problem for the Castro family regime, the idea that there could be freedom of information let alone freedom of speech, interchange of views on sites like this one and discovery of the fraud that has been perpetuated for fifty five years that Socialismo is beneficial for the common people.

  • September 15, 2014 at 11:03 am
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    It’s not a matter of gathering information which all sides do. The issue is using technology to organize terrorism, biological attacks and flash mobs. You really can’t expect the Cuban government to trust Obama’s offer when US policy is so incoherent – constantly veering between cold war aggression and détente and when Obama doesn’t seem to be in control of his own secret services. But I’ve suggested an easy way he could increase the connectivity of ordinary Cubans if he wanted to.

    But lets agree that there is mistrust on both sides. However Raul Castro has offered to sit down and negotiate all issues, including democracy, while Obama has refused. Now does that suggest that he cares that much about dissidents, democracy, connectivity etc.

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