Bloomberg provides tips to stay connected in Cuba

Posted: 25-Feb-16 19:01

While it is becoming easier to travel to Cuba from the United States, the country still lags behind when it comes to Internet service. Cuba remains one of the most difficult places to stay connected, for both locals and travellers. There are ways to get around some of the restrictions, though, depending on your cell phone provider.

Bloomberg provides tips to stay connected in Cuba

As travel restrictions are eased for some American visitors to Cuba, the new exposure reveals a connectivity issue when it comes to the island nation. It is extremely difficult to get Internet service in Cuba. In fact, less than one-third of all Cubans are said to even use the Internet.

Bloomberg Business shared an article written by David Rocks, reviewing all of the ways you can use to get online in Cuba. In this article, Rocks recommended using everything from roaming agreements with your cell phone provider to purchasing a local SIM card and tapping into public Wi-Fi.

According to John Kavulich, U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council President, while the issue of online service in Cuba is becoming less of a problem, there is still work that needs to be done.

“The situation is changing, but it’s still a great distance from being efficient in terms of communications.”

It remains cumbersome and expensive for travellers to gain Internet service in Cuba right now. While it is possible to go online private homes do not have Wi-Fi and only this month some test in private homes has been done.

As the author states, if you have Verizon Wireless you may be able to gain cell service via a roaming agreement the company has with Vodafone. The service is $2.99 per minute to make a phone call and costs $2.05 for each megabyte of data. If you have Sprint service, it costs $2.49 per minute for a phone call and each megabyte of data costs $1.99. Neither AT&T nor T-Mobile offers customers roaming service in Cuba.

Perhaps the easiest way of getting online in Cuba, though, is to do what most locals do and tap in to pubic Wi-Fi. Depending on how many people are using the Wi-Fi it may be slow and it is not cheap. According to Rocks’ article, a majority of hotels use Nauta, a shared Wi-Fi service.

You use the code from a scratch card and then gain access after entering the code into your tablet, computer or phone. Rocks found that costs vary, but it is usually a minimum of $2 CUC per hour. If you end up not using all the time you’ve purchased you will want to log out when you wish to go back online with the 12-digit code and its 12-digit password. If not, your time decreases.

For calling abroad, travellers may also purchase a local SIM card. For about $40 a prepaid card includes roughly 40-minutes of talk time. It is relatively simple to do, but sometimes lines are long. It helps if you speak Spanish. You also have the option of purchasing additional data and talk time from a number of street vendors, bakeries or convenience stores across Cuba.

While Wi-Fi hotspots are not plentiful across Cuba, they are often fairly easy to locate based on the number of people gathered around local hotels or parks. In that sense, Rocks’ sarcastic recommendation for getting online is to look for crowds.


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