Havana Communications

  

Cuba Internet | Cell Phones | Calling Cards | Telephony in Cuba

 

Havana Communications features information about the Internet, cell phones, WiFi, VoIP and other communications technologies available in Cuba along with information for US based telecommunications companies who are seeking to open a sales channel in Cuba for their products and services.

Internet Access in Cuba

The Internet in Cuba forum at the Lonely Planet offers lots of information about Internet cafes and wireless internet access in Cuba. Expect to experience lousy internet service with slow downloads and restricted access to pages in Cuba due to the Cuban government's strict controls on Internet use. However, the Cuban people are very creative and have learned to communicate by storing information on USB drives and sharing those drives with other people.

The "La Red Cubana" blog features regular updates about the internet in Cuba so be sure to check in with this site.

The Informatica Fair in Cuba is held every February and is a great conference for those in the telecommunications industry.

Venezuela and Cuba are working together to install a fiber optic cable that will give Cuba high speed internet access. However, the Cuban government will be using this new high speed internet service but Cuban citizens will most likely be restricted from using the Internet. The service has started, mostly as downloads and less so for uploads.

Service will most likely not be available to the general Cuban public. Bloomberg news goes into detail about how this development is a missed opportunity for US telecommunications companies to have a presence in Cuba's telecommunication system.

Cuba recently launched a Facebook social networking knock off that obviously is pure Cuban government propaganda since most Cubans are not allowed to even access the internet let alone be allowed into a website where average Cuban citizens can interact. Yoani Sanchez says that this new social network ignores alternative voices... which is a nice way of saying MOST Cuban citizens. Of course the internet is very important to the Cuban people.

  • Cuba Telecommunications
    This page offers information about OFAC approved telecommunications services provided by US based businesses.

On March 21, 2012, The Heritage Foundation and Google Ideas hosted a conference titled Cuba Needs a (Technological) Revolution: How the Internet Can Thaw an Island Frozen in Time and you can see the event below in the video.

Featuring Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, interviewed by Mary O’Grady, Editorial Board Member, The Wall Street Journal.

Introduction by Mike Gonzalez, Vice President, Communications, The Heritage Foundation
Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas

Panel 1 – WHY DOES CUBA’S GOVERNMENT SUPPRESS THE INTERNET?

  • Daniel Fisk, Vice President for Policy and Strategic Planning, International Republican Institute
  • Roger F. Noriega, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
  • Ray Walser, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst, Latin America, The Heritage Foundation
  • Mike Gonzalez, Vice President, Communications, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator)

Panel 2 – PROMOTING UNCENSORED INFORMATION TO CUBANS

  • Mauricio Claver-Carone, Director, U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC
  • Carlos Garcia Perez, Director, Office of Cuba Broadcasting
  • Carlos Saladrigas, Co-Chairman, Cuba Study Group
  • James Glassman, Executive Director, George W. Bush Institute (Moderator)

Cuban Cigars

Cell Phones in Cuba

If you are bringing your own cell phone into Cuba, you should know that first, you will have lousy cell phone service in Cuba at best and second, you will pay as much at $1 per minute for usage rates.

The network and coverage areas in Cuba are spotty but the Cuban people have learned to adapt by texting to fellow Cubans rather than calling, as they always have to unfavorable conditions as imposed by Fidel Castro.

Current cell phone use in Cuba may be more promising but you should be very cautious about renting cell phones in Cuba. Also, recently the Cuban government bought out the ETECSA cellular service provider but it is a mystery as to why since the Cuban government can't even run sugar mills so we are not sure why they think they can run the mobile phone system in Cuba.

The Economist writes about current cellphone usage in Cuba as of January 2012 and the Cuban government interfered with dissidents' phone communications while the Pope visited the country.

Nick Slepko of The Motely Fool writes about investing in Cuba cellular network companies while some speculate about Cuba becoming an international call center at some point in the future. Peter Ryan, Lead Analyst – BPO and Contact Center Outsourcing & Services, OVUM writes Is Cuba Poised to Become a Call Center Hub? 

"Clearly, there are many interesting reasons why investors may shudder to imagine housing a customer care operation in that country. However, from an objective standpoint, it is worth considering why contact center players may wish to consider this location for delivery in the long-term, should a significant shift in economic and business ideology overtake Cuba, in a similar fashion to Central and Eastern Europe 20 years ago.

One of the most compelling reasons why an outsourcing player may take an interest in Cuba relates to the proportion of the population that works in services, which according the CIA WorldFactbook amounts to 61%, roughly the same as Mexico & Chile, and only somewhat smaller than Argentina."

Cuban Telephone Quality

Cuban Telephone Services Improved

DTCuba.com | October 2011

According to official statistics, there were 2,291,455 telephone lines, including both ground and mobile lines, in Cuba at the end of 2010, accounting for a density of 19.3 percent.

Over the past year, mobile and ground cell phones accounted for two-thirds of the growth, totaling 1,127,985 lines in December 2010.

In the late 1990s, there were 500,000 phone lines in Cuba, accounting for a density of 4.04 percent. Digital lines barely reached 40 percent.

Statistics show that at the end of 2010, digital telephony covered 98.7 percent of the country, where there are 617 telephone plants.

At the end of 2011, the Cuban government allowed the creation of Havana yellow pages for the fledgling Cuban entrepreneurs.

Restrictions on US Based Telecommunications Companies Seeking to do Business in Cuba

The Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains strict regulations regarding US based telecommunications companies seeking to do business in Cuba.

Research and Markets has published its new Cuba - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Report 2011 featuring information about:

  • Telecommunications market
    • Overview of Cuba's telecom market
  • Regulatory environment
  • Fixed network operator in Cuba
    • Empresa de Telecomunicaciones del Cuba SA (Etecsa)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure
    • National telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
  • Internet market
    • Internet statistics
  • Mobile communications
    • Overview of Cuba's mobile market
      • Mobile statistics
    • Major mobile operators
      • Telefonos Celulares de Cuba (Cubacel)

 

We are working to answers to these common questions:

Where to buy cell phones in Cuba?

How to load minutes onto your friend or relatives cell phones in Cuba.

Where can I get internet access in Cuba?

Can I send a fax in Cuba?

What are the Cuban VHF channels for boaters and pilots?

Are there any HAM radio operators in Cuba?

Meanwhile, read more about OFAC Cuba sanctions and business in Cuba at our Cuba information resource HavanaJournal.com

 


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