Cuba to begin full internet access for mobile phones

Ceria Alfonso
Diciembre 6, 2018

ETECSA state telecom president Mayra Arevich announced that services would commence on Thursday, adding Cuba to the list of countries with mobile internet and providing its roughly 11.2m citizens with internet access.

Almost half of the Communist-run country's 11.2 million residents have mobile phones, although not all will be able to afford mobile internet.

The new service will cost about 10 cents per megabyte, with packages ranging from 600 megabytes for about US$7 to four gigabytes for about US$30.

"It was about time this became a possibility for Cubans too", Havana resident Joaquin Montiel, 58, said.

ETECSA vice president Tania Velázquez said that her company would roll out the service over the next few days to avoid congesting the network after some complained that they were unable to send and receive messages while 3G internet testing was conducted earlier this year.

Cuba has lagged far behind most countries in web access, whether because of a lack of cash, a long-running U.S. trade embargo or concerns about the flow of information.

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Cuba authorised home internet in 2017 and hundreds of public Wi-Fi connection points have opened in parks and plazas around the country.

Many Cubans complain about having to fearless insects and the elements at the hotspots, which also lack privacy.

"The quality of service will be a key factor during the rollout of mobile internet", YucaByte editor Norges Rodriguez said as quoted by Reuters.

Until now, Cubans have had access only to state-run email accounts on their phones.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Raul Castro in April, has championed greater connectivity, underscoring the potential for internet to boost the economy and enable Cuba to better defend its revolution online.

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