Following up on the recent announcement to lift the ban on computer and DVD player sales, the Cuban Government has decided to lift the ban on cell phones. While Cuba has not been a cell-phone free country, the available phones have been primarily used by government officials, foreigners and those who were able to get their hand on one from a third-party, which meant very few had access. The good new is that beginning soon, according to ETECSA the phones and service will be available “within days,” can actually be used by anyone (assuming its affordable) and without worry or fear of getting in trouble.
The service will come as a joint venture with Cuban telecommunications monopoly ETECSA and Telecom Italia. It does of course have some drawbacks, but I suppose just being able to legally obtain a cell phone should out weigh those. Cubans who want to get service will have to use CUC’s (a foreign currency) which is said to be valued 24 times more than the Cuban peso. This alone will make it difficult for many to obtain service. A few good points are that the service will be a pre-paid service, so no long term contracts to get tied into, and they will be able to make and receive international calls.