Quote:Cuba to extend its telecommunication services
THE Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA), has announced that, via an investment process, it is now able to supply the population with a cell phone service, introduced into the country in a limited form in 1991.
In a note published in the national press, ETECSA states that it has given priority to an investment program that will make it possible to begin to extend certain services as part of the development of telecommunications on the island.
It adds that the investment is to be based on credits and technology forthcoming from friendly countries.
Priority will be given to the municipalities with the lowest phone density and to areas with more than 300 inhabitants that are still lacking a telephone service.
The first stage will consist of solutions for a collective use of the service.
In relation to cell phones, these will be offered on the basis of personal pre-paid contracts. The service is available in convertible Cuban pesos (CUC) "to defray the development of cable connectivity, which has an important role in the computerization of society, as well as to facilitate the introduction of new telephone services in national currency."
The national press added that the Ministry of Informatics and Telecommunications has announced that it is about to publish regulations to assure the instigation and control of the program in an orderly and progressive way.
Quote:Cuba lifts curbs on mobile phones
Cubans are to be allowed unrestricted access to mobile phones for the first time, in the latest reform announced under new President Raul Castro.
In a statement in official newspaper Granma, state telecom monopoly ETECSA said it would offer mobile services to the public in the next few days.
Some Cubans already own mobile phones, but they have had to acquire them via a third party, often foreigners.
Cuba's rate of cell phone usage remains among the lowest in Latin America.
Now Cubans will be able to subscribe to pre-paid mobile services under their own names, instead of going through foreigners or in some cases their work places.
However, the new service must be paid for in foreign currency, which will restrict access to wealthier Cubans.
Quote:Cubans snapping up mobile phones
Cubans are reported to have taken out 7,400 new mobile phone contracts in the 10 days since restrictions were eased.
The figures, reported by the AFP news agency, were made by Maximo Lafuente from the state telecoms company Etecsa.
Etecsa expects to sell 1.4 million new mobile phone contracts in Cuba in the next five years.
Until President Raul Castro lifted restrictions, mobile phones could only be bought by government officials and people working for foreign firms.
Since taking over from his brother, Raul Castro has lifted a number of restrictions on Cubans, including those on renting cars and buying DVDs.
The number of new mobile phone contracts is impressive given that it costs about Â£60 just to set up a new contract while the average monthly salary in Cuba is less than Â£10.
In the past, many Cubans used illegal phones or asked permitted users to sign up on their behalf.