Cuban Phone Company to Block “Blacklisted” Phones / 14ymedio

Cuba’s phone company says that its new measures are to prevent fraudulent use of lost or stolen phones. (DC)
Cuba’s phone company says that its new measures are to prevent fraudulent use of lost or stolen phones. (DC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 May 2016 – Cuba’s government-owned phone company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), has announced that starting this Wednesday, May 18, new rules will come into effect for cellphones which will more strongly control their use.

According to the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), the measures will include an automatic blocking of a line if the SIM card inserted in the phone is on the “blacklist.”

According to that official newspaper, the new regulation is the result on an “increase in reports associated with criminal acts including theft and/or loss of cellphones, fraudulent changing of the IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment) code which allows each mobile phone to be uniquely identified worldwide, which is done by unscrupulous citizens to facilitate the illegal use of these cellphones which are on the blacklist (blocked), and the desire to protect the population from the acts of these teams [of thieves].”

Owners of a line whose phone has been stolen or lost, according to the official note, can ask to have their device included on the “blacklist,” “upon presentation of documentation that validates the ownership or property.” ETECSA has made available through its website (, it says, a site where you can find out if your phone is on the blacklist, by entering the IMEI, which can be obtained by dialing *#06#.

If the line is blocked, the owner has five days to “appear in ETECSA’s commercial offices and to clarify the causes of the event in order to unlock the line,” otherwise the service will be cancelled.

In addition, the new measures establish that users who have an IMEI that “is not valid (incorrect IMEI numbering)” must replace their device by this Wednesday. The newspaper warned that “those customers who are in this situation will be notified promptly by phone.”

Cellphone repair workshops managed by private individuals have become very popular in Cuba in recent years. One of their most provided services is unlocking devices that have been blocked by the phone company, or devices that have been stolen.