Cuba to begin full internet service for mobile phones

Havana, Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, CMC – Cubans will have access to full internet service as of Thursday.

Earlier this week, President of the Cuban state telecom monopoly ETECSA Mayra Arevich said starting Thursday, Cubans, who have only had access to state-run email accounts on their phones, can now begin contracting 3G service for the first time .

The Cuban government has been building a 3G network in cities across the island and some tourists, Cuban government officials and foreign businesspeople have had access to it for several years.

Cuba has one of the world’s lowest rates of internet use but that has been expanding rapidly since Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared detente in 2014.

Internet authorized in 2017

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

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

In 2012, Cuba ran a fiber-optic connection to Venezuela, allowing the island to shift from slow and costly satellite links.

ETECSA vice president Tania Velázquez said the new service would come online in stages from Thursday through Saturday to avoid the congestion that struck the mobile network during a series of  tests earlier this year.

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