Cuba Reaches 5 Million Mobile Lines, But Still Lags Behind Latin America

Young people using their cell phones to connect to Wi-Fi in an enabled zone in a public park in Havana, where fees for the service are very high. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 April 2018 — The Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) reported Wednesday that it has reached five million active mobile telephone lines throughout the country, serving 43% of the inhabitants, a figure that has the island still lagging behind Latin America, with 65% mobile phone penetration.

The state telecommunications monopoly detailed the growth in mobile service in the last year and a half, which went from 4 million, 16 months ago, to the current figure of 5 million. In its statement, ETECSA did not specify what percentage of the customers are occasional tourists (who contract for cellphone service while visiting Cuba because their own phones do not work here) and which are permanent users of the service.

In fifteen years cellphone lines went from about 43,000, in 2003, to the current 5,000,000, a growth that has a direct impact on communications, private businesses and the professional life of the country.

“2018 will be another year to continue the process of computerization of Cuban society and thereby contribute more services to the population, contribute to the economy and the development of the country,” said ETECSA.

Recently the company announced that this year it will begin to offer Internet service from mobile phones. “We are prepared to start selling Internet-on-mobile next year, we are working to reach this type of access,” said the president of this entity, Mayra Arevich, on the government website CubaHoy.

However, the company has not yet begun to market the service or announced when it will be operational.

In 2015, in Latin America, mobile technologies and services generated 5% of GDP and around two million jobs, according to data from the GSMA organization that covers mobile operators and related companies around the world.


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