The Cuba - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
BuddeComm’s Cuba - Telecoms, Mobile, and Broadband profiles the fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets in Cuba.
Cuba still has the lowest mobile phone penetration in Latin America, one of the lowest levels of Internet penetration, and is among the five lowest in terms of fixed-line teledensity. Cuba’s fixed-line services are a monopoly in the hands of government-controlled Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba SA (Etecsa), while mobile services are provided exclusively by Cubacel, a subsidiary of Etecsa.
There remains substantial state controls over the right to own and use certain communications services, such as the right to access the Internet. Although Raul Castro, who was made President in February 2008, is more reform-minded than was his brother Fidel, the liberalisation of Cuba’s telecommunications sector, as with the liberalisation of other government controls over Cuban life, is expected to occur slowly over the next five to ten years.
This report contains overviews, analyses and statistics of the Cuban fixed-line, mobile and broadband markets.
In March 2008 Raul Castro, shortly after taking the reins of power, issued a decree stating that Cubans could henceforth legally own and use mobile phones by taking out pre-paid subscriptions. Nevertheless, the same decree stipulated that contracts must be paid for in Cuban Convertible Pesos, a currency which, in spite of a thriving black market, is officially only available to foreigners.
A significant new deployment in coming years includes a new submarine fibre-optic cable linking Cuba and Venezuela in 2010. The cable is expected to triple Cuba’s capacity for communications abroad as well as free the country from its current reliance on the slow and unreliable Internet access it employs via US satellite systems.
Whilst Cubans are still prohibited from general access to the Internet, soon after Fidel Castro’s retirement a number of electronic goods joined the list of legally accessible products, including personal computers.
In early 2009 the government gave hope to many Cubans when it stated that it was not “currently” planning to legalise Internet services for the general public, as happened with mobile phones in 2008, but that it remained a possibility that “is not being discarded”.
Whilst Etecsa reportedly increased its subscriber base by more than 130,000 during 2008, in January 2009 the incumbent mobile provider stated that it intended to add a further 250,000 subscribers during 2009, reaching a total 1.6 million mobile subscribers by 2012 or 10% of the population.