Since 2003, Cuba has invested over $150 million to develop the island’s cellular phone industry. The Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA) is predicting that the number of wireless subscribers on the island will exceed one million by the end of 2010. ETECSA Vice President Máximo Lafuente told reporters that the projection for 2015 is that the number of wireless subscribers will climb to 2.4 million.
Lafuente said that beginning June 1 cell phone users will enjoy significant cost savings on calls made between 11:00pm and 6:59 am. Activation cost for cell phones has fallen from the original price of $120 to the current cost of $43 (or $20, according to BBC Mundo), while rates for national and international calls will fall by between 42 percent and 75 percent depending on the destination. He pointed out that a new “caller pays” system will also go into effect on that date, although cell phone users will also have the option of a collect-call service. Regarding the roaming services, the second most important income source in mobile technology, Lafuente said that 30 new agreements will be signed this year, which will add up to more than 300 accords with telephone operators from 128 countries.
Initially, says Fernando Ravsberg of BBC Mundo, people with higher salaries in Cuba, such as artists, artisans, businessmen, mechanics, farmers, fishermen, taxi drivers, and others that do not depend on a state salary were able to afford cell phone service, but since the costs have dropped, more and more people are using them.
Cell phones have also been distributed to people who live in remote areas where conditions make it too difficult to install landlines.
For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/america_latina/2010/04/100423_cuba_crece_telefonia_celular_lh.shtml
For versions in English, see http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/article.php?news_id=22790 and http://news.smashits.com/512749/Cuba-opens-up-to-allow-more-cell-phones.htm