Cuba to launch Internet access on mobile phones
Cubans will be able to access the Internet on their mobile phones from Thursday (Dec 6), state-run telecoms company ETECSA said, marking a milestone for what has long been one of the Western Hemisphere’s least connected countries.
In a news show broadcast late on Tuesday, ETECSA executives announced a range of packages valid for 30 days from 600 MB for the equivalent of US$7 dollars (S$9.50) to 4 GB for US$30. Without a package, 100 MB will cost users US$10.
Until 2013, Internet was largely only available to the public at tourist hotels on the island.
But the government has since made boosting connectivity a priority, introducing cybercafes and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots and slowly starting to hook up homes to the Web.
“It will be good to be able to connect to the web with greater comfort,” said Mr Guillermo Diaz, 38, who frequently heads to a Wi-Fi hotspot in a park near his home to videochat with family members who have emigrated to the United States.
ETECSA vice-president Tania Velazquez said the company would be rolling out the service over several days to avoid the network congestion that occurred during mobile Internet testing earlier this year.
Ms Velazquez announced that access to state-run applications and websites like Ecured, a Cuban Wikipedia, would be significantly cheaper than access to the World Wide Web.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Mr Raul Castro in April, has championed greater connectivity, underscoring the potential for the Internet to boost the economy.