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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Let’s not go down the “who can trust who” road. The Castros are as bad and I say worse when it comes to espionage. Some even claim they are better at it. The fact is that both sides spend a lot of effort trying to know more than they are supposed to know.

  • My comments reflect my opinions formed from first-hand experience with the Castro regime. I take as a compliment your observation that my comments are consistent. I am not the least bit put off that you consider my comments to be propaganda, that is if you mean my comments reflect “a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people.” I do what I do for free as I passionately believe that the Cuban people deserve to be free of Castro tyranny. While your doctors vs. soldiers comment hopes to generate sympathy for Cuba, the truth is Cuba’s largest source of revenue is from its export of medical services. A service made possible not from Castro altruism but from the discrepancy between the slave wages the Castros pay doctors in Cuba in comparison to the value of those services in other countries. The US on the other hand does send far more doctors, engineers, teachers, homebuilders and many others through Peace Corps volunteers and a variety of other organizations. Our soldiers only go where they are invited and it they go uninvited, its for good reason.

  • You are still failing to address the article. Your minds – I include dani – are so occupied with phlegm and venom against the US and your deep and obvious faith in Communist dictatorship that you have become incapable of recognizing the failures of the Castro family regime. In his article Luis Rondon Paz actually quotes the response he received from Cubacel, so why don’t you read it?
    “the servers are jammed and changes to the technical infrastructure have been made recently. Please be patient, we’re working on it.”
    No word of any role played by the wicked USA, the wicked Obama, the evil CIA, a fascist plot or even activities in a place named Ferguson. Just a faIlure by ETECSA a Socialismo monopoly to provide services.
    Regarding the cable freely offered by Obama, the Castro family regime decided to have a link from Venezuela at that time under the rule of Hugo Chavez and now having the benefit of the second highest inflation rate in the world under Nicholas Maduro – even higher than that achieved by Chavez.
    Obama promised to close down the jail at Guantanamo. Yes he failed and as you will know, did so as a consequence of every community in the US that was offered a new high security jail refusing it because the local citizens did not wish to have the risk of terrorists in their community – but did not have similar concern for the Cuban public.
    My concerns are always based upon the best interests of the Cuban people. Yes, in my view the only way in which the dismal Cuban economy can improve is by the introduction of capitalism and the release of individual initiatives and energy. Currently the Cuban economy is constipated by prolonged consumption of Marxist thinking and Fidel Castro Ruz ideology.

  • It is obvious you just want to rant anti Cuban propaganda, did the National Endownment for Democracy employ you? Because you are so consistent, If Raul Castro developed had the biomedical industry develop a new vaccine against Ebola you would argue its a scam. US sends soldiers abroad, Cuba sends doctors! What a country!

  • Pastor for Peace also were able to get some PC and buses two years ago….at least you can trust them, you cant trust USAID they will do anything to spy, agitate and subvert Cuba.

  • Yes and Obama promised to close down Guantanamo, provide relief for immigrants…don’t hold your breath!

  • Yes, but you know very well what it was going to be used for. If Obama wants to help connectivity in Cuba why doesn’t he make a large donation to Pastors for Peace to supply phone and internet tarjetas to the Cuban people.

  • Remember that in his inaugural speech almost six years agoi President Obama offered to lay a cable from Florida to Cuba free!

  • Servers? Are you joking? Servers are hardware. The problem is in running the programming. There are plenty of Cuban software developers trained in China and Russia who are quite capable of developing the software to run on whatever servers the Castros have in use. Castros minions are simply too stupid to run the telephony software they use.

  • Yes, read the article, the problem are the servers and the cheap phones……until fiber optic cables and high volume WiFi, and phone communication is installed not much will change….service will not change bad equipment, I know I have used it…..

  • Hello, the problem are the servers!!!!! Even Chinese don’t use chinese servers!!!

  • The Chinese can sell Cuba all the phones and the technology that Cuba needs. In fact, they could give them the phones. That’s not the problem. The problem is the service. Have you been to Cuba lately? There is no lack of phones. People are walking around with phones but can’t afford the 5 cuc tarjeta to put credit on the phone. The phone ends up being used as a camera, an mp3 player, a calculator, and so on. Everything but a phone. The Castros suck at running the phone company too.

  • READ THE ARTICLE! There isn’t a shortage of cell phones, there is a lack of service by ETECSA the monopoly telephone system in Cuba. You are so busy trying to find excuses for the incompetence of the Socialismo system of the Castro family regime that you fail to read the articles being discussed. Apple has nothing to do with the miserable inadequacy of ETECSA which is 27% owned by Rafin SA (Raul & Fidel). What is required is an alternative competitive system to ETECSA to provide better service and lower charges. If you have ever ‘phoned Cuba you will know about ETECSA’s exhorbitant rates.

  • Incredible! Can Apple sell these phones and technology directly to the Cubans? Then your criticism is unfair. Lift the embargo and instead of creating technology like ZunZuneo to spy, let them have access to better technology.

  • It is ironic that on the same day Apple announces the new iPhone 6, 6+, and iWatch, I should read this post. Because of Castro-style socialism, Cuba is falling farther and farther behind technologically.

  • Time to send for the local repairmen/owners! I think their names are Fidel and Raul. They also have some expertise in hard currency with a substantial accumulation within the family coffers. Regarding jamming, the same folks have successfully jammed radio stations including short wave, so they do possess some expertise.

Comments are closed.