More Than a Million and a Half Cellphone Lines Are Out of Service After Etecsa Fire

Fire Trucks in Santa Clara (CMHW)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Miami, 26 June 2018 — More than a million and a half cell lines are currently without service after the fire on Monday at a location of the Cuban Telecommunications Company (Etecsa) in Santa Clara, company officials told the official press.

Mobile phone users in Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus, along with a good number of cell lines in Pinar del Río, are without coverage, Etecsa said. The company did not offer details on when they will be able to restore the service to the affected customers or if they foresee any type of compensation.

Mayra Arevich, Executive President of Etecsa said that almost 29% of cell phone users in the country remain without a signal. The state monopoly has only been able to restore service to 152,000 users in the city of Pinar del Río, but the provinces of Cienfuegos, Villa Clara and Sancti Spíritus remain without a signal.

The company announced that they will try to recover “the infrastructure of the node affected,” although they emphasized that it is a “high risk option” because more than 24 hours after the fire they still have not determined what damage the fire caused to the equipment.

Arevich added that Etecsa technicians are already working to assess the damage and undertake maintenance on the equipment. “If the system is working after the cleaning, it will be easier and faster to restore services,” he said.

However, if thisis not the case, it would be necessary to replace the base radios in the region. According to Arevich this would be a complex measure because “the country does not have everything necessary for this.”

According to Etecsa officials, a series of decisions have been taken to “strengthen the public telephone system,” among which is the free provision of some 3,000 public telephones in bus stations and terminals and funeral homes.

Etecsa also announced that they will carry out maintenance actions on other telecommunications nodes that affect different provinces of the country, but that will be done at night so as not to affect customers.

The fire comes at a time when users are waiting for the activation of the web browsing service on mobile phones, a long-awaited feature that Etecsa has ensured will be finalized before the end of this year.

Last April the company reported that there were five million active mobile telephone lines throughout the country (there were only 43,000 in 2003). However, with a coverage of 43% of the population, the Island still lags behind Latin America, which has a 65% penetration of mobile phones.


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