Some Cubans Can Now Have Internet on their Cellphones

WIFI facing the sea. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba will offer 3G data service on mobile phones starting Thursday, according to the state-run Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA).

The telephones have to operate in the frequency of 900 MHz and the clients will be able to have access by a billing by consumption or by a packet of data.

The data packages range from seven dollars for 600 megabytes to 30 dollars for four gigabytes. For billing, access to international pages will be 0.10 cents per megabyte, while pages ending in .cu will cost two cents.

For three days, from Thursday to Saturday, the service will be arriving to mobile phones gradually depending on the numerical code by which the phone starts.

“The important thing is quality, because we do not want to offer a service and then for people not be able to connect,” said the president of the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), Mayra Arevich, on state television.

This year, the national telephone monopoly conducted two free tests for users to access the mobile data service to assess the ability of the national network to withstand mass access. After the initial joy for the free service, there were many complaints about network congestion.

“We have always worked with one premise: to give Internet to more Cubans,” Arevich said on the nightly “Mesa Redonda” (Round Table) program on state television. There are many Cubans who differ with this assessment, but they are not allowed to give their opinions on the Round Table or other state media.

In fact, these services, such as WiFi for payment in the parks, are not for the working class or professional Cuban who lives on a salary that average between 15 and 30 dollars a month and struggles to put food on the table. The service is designed for those who have relatives abroad, and individuals with successful legal or illicit businesses.

For years, access to Internet in homes was restricted to government officials, journalists, academics and artists, but in 2016 coverage was extended to many areas with the start of the Nauta Hogar service that offers Internet in homes in packages of 30 monthly connection hours with the price varying depending on the connection speed, ranging from 15 dollars to 70.

Cuba is one of the least connected countries in the world, although in recent years it has made a gradual opening to the Internet for citizens who have foreign currency. The situation in Cuba today is similar to that of 20-25 years ago in many countries of the Americas.

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6 thoughts on “Some Cubans Can Now Have Internet on their Cellphones

  • Communism is not confined to Cuba Curt. It is as indicated by “The International” just that. To understand the links with Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia et al, study ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America) and CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. CELAC has joint Headquarters in Caracas and Havana. They are endeavors to gel Latin American countries into the equivalent of the USSR and we all know how that rotted from within. You may have noted that Raul Castro (who as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba holds seniority over Diaz-Canel who is merely President of the State of Cuba) recently rushed off to give Noreiga and Murillo support in maintaining and extending repression in Nicaragua. Birds of a feather – especially odious ones of their type, stick together.

  • Tony, if you lived in Cuba and the repression of the Castro regime you would understand that communist politics dominate the lives of Cubans hour by hour, day by day, week by week and month by month. The articles in Havana Times are written by Cubans and include those of Elio Legon Delgado who virtually provides the views of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba – and YES ! there is such a department. Communist slogans and cult of the personality posters cover the walls of schools, offices, government buildings along with placards and billboards littering the countryside. The number 26/7 and the brownish/black stripes are on telephone and lamp poles. All that I have just written is the truth. You may find such activities attractive, but believe me, the people of Cuba at large don’t! I know because my home is in Cuba, I am married to a Cuban, am related to over sixty of them and have friends in different parts of Cuba. It may be that if you are of left wing persuasion – and in the free part of the world all political views are permitted unlike Cuba where you can be jailed for criticism of the Castro regime – that you do not fully comprehend the difference between dictatorial communism and democratic socialism. The Castro regime is the former NOT the latter! If you are criticizing Circles Robinson as Editor, then understand that he cannot operate out of Cuba – one of the ten most censored countries in the world.
    Facts Tony speak for themselves – you may not like them, but facts are facts. If you don’t like the truth about Cuba, then I for one can understand why you may seek something flaccid.

  • Does reading the truth about life in Cuba upset you? Imagine living there?

  • Well Tony, have you ever been to Cuba? Because there this news is as big as the first mobile phones with internet access and people have been waiting a long time for it to start! If it will work it will save some of my friends a 10 km commute (on foot, or if they’re lucky on very infrequent public transport) to the nearest WiFi park to connect with me (Imo – a kind of dressed-down Skype-). If it works ofcourse! Right now the Cubans already are supposed to send and receive mail over the phone line, but at least one of my friends needs to go to the WiFi park because it usually isn’t working on his phone (and yes, it is a mobile suitable to send and receive mail, on a good day it even sometimes does work). He’ll (they’ll) be overjoyed if he (they) doesn’t have to travel this 10 km anymore. That is, when I will help him (them) with the funds to access internet over the phone. They (normal Cubans in the countryside, with jobs that pay 18 dollars or (much) less) need all their money (and more) just to have one meal a day!
    I happen to read these publications because they are providing the real news of the Cubans and the way they live and think, which the Cuban government doesn’t do. And yes there a few writers whom are clearly completely blind to what goes on around them and only supply the views from their leaders; but they are easy to spot and you can stop reading them (or do read them to see how the Cuban government would want their populace and the outside world to interpret it)

  • This website used to be much more objective but now it has turned into an anti Cuban government website . Also there are much more articles about Nicaragua than about Cuba.

  • Too political! Havana Times is too political. Even news about dates and facts are turned into political criticism. I’ll stop reading this publication. I hope someone not serving a foreign power starts publishing realistic and truthful news about Cuba. I love critical analysis. I love to see the good and the bad, but this blog is too biased.

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