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Communist-run Cuba starts rolling out internet on mobile phones

19 July, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Cuba rolls out mobile internet at last

Journalists at state news channels received mobile internet access first from Cuba's telecommunications monopoly ETECSA, reported the Evening Standard .

Certain customers, including companies and embassies, have also been able to buy mobile data plans since December, according to the website of Cuban telecoms monopoly ETECSA, which has not broadly publicized the move. This has been quoted by ETECSA and not publicised.

That'll see 5 million people - close to half the country's population - gain access to mobile data before the year is out.

Internet service, in Cuba, was mainly available to the public at various tourist hotels on the island.

Introducing outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots and cybercafés, the government has prioritized increasing connectivity.

The proposed changes come as 58-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel, a former provincial leader, is in only his third month as Cuban president, succeeding two icons of Cuba's revolutionary generation, Raul Castro and before him his brother Fidel Castro.

A 16-month freeze on new private restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts will end in December when Cuba's communist government implements new regulations meant to prevent tax evasion and the accumulation of wealth, state media said Tuesday.

Yuneisy Galindo, a local resident points out the careless attitude of ETECSA saying that he had been many times to the ETECSA shop to inquire whether he can get a home access. Still, Cubans are skeptical. ETECSA President Mayra Arevich told state-run media in December it had connected just 11,000 homes a year ago. "But they tell us they still aren't ready and will call us".

The Cubans have smartphones since ages, but it is only now that the Cuban government has started installing 3G, even though most of Latin America has moved onto 4G, with 5G testing in its last phase.

Cuba had hoped that a diplomatic opening to the USA, agreed on with President Barack Obama, would stimulate the island's struggling economy.

"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 U.S. told Reuters.

The price could prove the biggest restriction for many, though.



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