Communist-run Cuba starts rolling out internet on mobile phones

Ceria Alfonso
Julio 20, 2018

Journalists, of state-run news outlets, were the first ones to receive the service, which is being provided by Cuba's telecoms monopoly - Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (ETECSA).

The company has also assured to expand its services to all its 5 million mobile phone users i.e. approximately 50% of the Cuban population.

Price is not clear, but the telco listed new data plans for postpaid mobile customers, including companies, accredited press and embassies, charging $45 a month for 4 gigabytes. By 2013, Internet access was only available in some hotels.

But the government has since then made increasing connectivity a priority, introducing cybercafes and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots and slowly starting to hook up homes to the web. It has also started gradually hooking up homes to the web.

The reform has already undergone preparations by 33 lawmakers guided by former president Raul Castro, who ruled the Caribbean island from 2006 until being succeeded by Miguel Diaz-Canel April 2017.

More news: Gobierno permitirá implementación de internet en teléfonos móviles — Cuba

Last July in his statement as vice-president he stated, "We should be able to upload the content of the revolution online".

Cuba could utilize the subsidies provided to it to boost the government-funded applications said, experts.

The Cuban government said - in a 2015 document about its internet strategy that leaked - it aimed to connect at least half of homes by 2020 and 60 percent of phones.

Cuba had hoped that a diplomatic opening to the USA, agreed on with President Barack Obama, would stimulate the island's struggling economy. "But they tell us they still aren't ready and will call us".

"This rollout will expand slowly at first and then more quickly, if the government is increasingly confident that it can control any political fallout", Cuba expert Ted Henken from Baruch College in the USA told Reuters. Compared with an average state monthly wage of $30, hotspots now charge $1 an hour.

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