Posts filed under ‘Cuba’
Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), announced its wireless subscriber base has increased by 60% to 480,000, up from 300,000 since the government opened up the service to the public in April 2008. Until President Raul Castro lifted a ban, mobile phones were only available to tourists and government officials. Nearly 8,000 subscribers were registered in the first ten days after the restrictions were relaxed. The government recently lowered the activation charge from USD120 to USD64, though this remains higher than most Cubans can afford, representing three months wages for the average worker.
In a separate story, government officials have stated that Cuba will continue to limit internet access after the completion of a 1,550km fibre-optic cable linking the island to Venezuela. The country currently connects to the internet via satellite as a result of the US trade embargo. Boris Moreno, deputy minister of computer science and communication, said that Cuba, with a population of around 11.4 million, has 1.4 million internet users, and that by the end of 2008 there were 630,000 computers, a 23% increase compared to end-2007.
Vietnamese military-owned telco Viettel has announced plans to expand its network to North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, according to reports in local paper Thanh Nien Daily. Tran Phuoc Minh, deputy director of Viettel, said the company is hoping to hold negotiations with the three countries in order to gain a foothold in their still relatively underdeveloped wireless markets. The cellco expanded its network to Cambodia last year, where it signed up 100,000 wireless subscribers after two months of pilot operations, as well as Laos, where it hopes to attract 50,000 subscribers this year. Viettel had a subscriber base of 28 million at end-2008.
Uruguayan telco Antel has been invited by the Solidarity Fund of Ecuador to invest in Ecuadorian state-run cellco Telecsa (Alegro). Antel said in a statement that it wants to operate in Ecuador, where it already provides consultancy services. The company said that it would not take a majority equity stake in Telecsa, but its investment would be ‘significant’. Antel is also working as a consultancy in other Latin American countries including Venezuela, Cuba and Paraguay.
Cuban state-owned telco ETECSA increased its wireless subscriber base by more than 130,000 in 2008, BNamericas reports. ETECSA, the sole cellco in Cuba, finished the year with 330,000 subscribers compared to 273,600 in September 2008. The increase was due to a move by the government to make mobile phones more accessible to citizens by reducing the cost of activating wireless devices. ETECSA hopes to increase its subscriber base by 250,000 in 2009, rising to a total of 1.6 million by 2012, equivalent to around 10% of the Cuban population.