More American citizens can use roaming service when travelling to Cuba

Posted: 03-Dec-15 10:05

This week American telecommunications company Sprint is launching roaming services for their US-based clients visiting Cuba. Executives of the corporation recently signed an agreement with Cuban representatives from ETECSA - the island's only state-owned telecommunications company and telephone provider.

More American citizens can use roaming service when travelling to Cuba

For those American citizens authorised to travel to Cuba under the 12 categories listed by the United States government, making calls and sending text messages with their own mobile lines during their time in the island will not be a problem anymore.

At least, this will now be a possibility for those using service providers like Sprint, the second telephone company based in the US to sign a deal to offer roaming services in Cuba in partnership with ETECSA, Cuba’s one and only telephone and Internet supplier.
This new agreement was sealed during FIHAV, the biggest annual international business fair in Cuba which takes place in Havana every November.

As it is expected for commercial relationships between the US and Cuba to continue developing at a steady pace over the next few months, more US visitors will need roaming services in the island, especially tourists and entrepreneurs.

Spirit is taking advantage of the small amount of competitors currently operating in Cuba, especially when improving telecommunications and internet access for the Cuban people is one of the main points in the US government agenda for the Caribbean country.

Verizon, a big service provider in the US, also offers roaming to their customers in Cuba, but Sprint is promising better prices. The company has an advantage thanks to the fact that Sprint is negotiating directly with the Cuban counterpart, while Verizon has a contract with a third part for making business with Cuba.

Sprint executives released a statement declaring that their clients deserved to feel as comfortable using their phones while visiting Cuba as they normally would be when using their services in the US.

Sprint representatives are expecting the new service to be up and running this week. The American company also signed a contract with ETECSA earlier this year for opening a direct call services between both nations using the submarine wire ALBA 1.

Other US-based businesses have similarly approached the national Cuban telecoms company. On February, Domestic Telecom, Inc (IDT) also signed a deal for providing long-distance direct telephone calls between the US and Cuba.

Executives form Google and other companies have also paid visits to Cuba, but the highest-profile delegation to have travelled to the island so far went there on March, led by Daniel Sepúlveda, coordinator for International Communications and Policies of Information at the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs in the US State Department. As some entrepreneurs stated at the time, this visit paved the way for exploring business opportunities with Cuba.

Nevertheless, the US embargo is still a huge obstacle for commercial activity between both countries. Sprint and their competitors cannot make payments in US dollars yet, and they will need to use banks in third countries.


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