Cuba is one of the countries with the most limited and controlled access to the Internet in the world. And it will obviously be some more time. And despite the fact that since Thursday, Cubans can access the Internet from a mobile phone, something that has been for many years now part of everyday life of people in many countries. In the case of Cubans, access to this technological advance can be too expensive, even spending a month's salary.
"From December 6, we started with online mobile phone services," said Mayra Arevich, president of Etecsa, a state-owned telecommunications company with a service monopoly. Etecsa has carried out several 3G tests in recent months, but the final test at the beginning of September and the provision of free access for 72 to 1.5 million users has been completed due to "connectivity and congestion problems" of voice and data services due to the "instability" of the network part , according to the company.
Etecsa vice president Tania Velázquez explained that only users with 3G (third generation) technology, which was first implemented in 2001, will be able to access the service.
Currently, most Latin American countries are converted into 4G (fourth generation).
The official explained that the rate of the new mobile data service for the packet at a speed of 600 megabytes (MB) of transmission would have a monthly cost of 7 convertible pesos (CUC, which corresponds to 7 dollars). In the case of access to a free 1 GB Internet connection, the price of 10 CUC ($ 10), if 2.5 GB, will be up to 20 CUC ($ 20) and who decides to buy the largest package, 4 GB, must pay 30 CUC ($ 30).
The average salary in Cuba for civil servants (87% of the employed population) is $ 30 per month. This means that it is equivalent to the cost of a package with higher capacity.
At the end of 2016, Cuba has signed a contract with Google to speed up the link with the online content of the American giant.
But internet access has not improved since then: it remains particularly limited, slow and expensive for households. Most residents have no other option than to connect to public Wi-Fi points that they pay for an hour.
Communications Minister Jorge Luis Perdomo said that the main challenges of the information and telecommunications sector in Cuba were the introduction of 4G technology in order to reduce congestion, improve access, and reduce service fees.