Cuba’s state-owned telecoms operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has begun providing mobile internet access for select users, including journalists at state-run news outlets, reports Reuters. Certain customers, such as companies and embassies, have also been able to buy mobile data plans since December. The monopoly operator is aiming to roll out the service nationwide by the end of the year.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that a 3G platform has been available for visitors roaming in Cuba from foreign networks since 2012, providing coverage of the main tourist areas and provincial capitals. In early 2017, however, ETECSA began launching pilot 3G networks, utilising the 900MHz frequency band, in locations including Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Ciego de Avila, Santiago de Cuba, Camaguey and Isla de la Juventud, although customers were reportedly only able to use the 3G platform to send MMS and access the Nauta mobile e-mail service, rather than to surf the internet. A total of 279 3G base stations were installed in 2017, increasing the total to 409 and providing coverage to 47% of the population.