Mobile phone and Internet connection in Cuba
Internet and WIFI in Cuba
Internet is becoming increasingly available in Cuba, and costs are much lower than they used to be. However it is still much more difficult to access the internet in Cuba than in most other countries, and the vast majority of guesthouses do not have the facilities to offer WIFI.
There are WIFI points, however at different places in all the cities visited by tourists in Cuba, such as plazas, public areas, and in most hotels, especially in Havana. WIFI cards that give you 1 hour access to the internet can be purchased in the hotels and at offices of the communication company ETECSA. These cost 1CUC each, however often these cards are sold out and locals make a business of offering them on the street for 2 or 3 CUC. Some hotels sell them at higher prices (up to 5 CUC per hour). We recommend you buy quite a few WIFI cards in Havana on the first days of your travels, as the cards are valid for use at WIFI points all over Cuba. Lines to buy them are usually long, or points of sale closed.
Telephoning from Cuba
International phone calls from Cuba are very expensive. The cheapest being about 2 CUC per minute to Canada and the most expensive being over 4 CUC per minute to Europe, Africa, and Australia. You can either buy a phone card from an ETECSA to use on public phones, or call from a hotel. At present in Cuba there are 10 CUC to 25 CUC cards available. The rates from hotels may be slightly more expensive but more convenient as you are not cut off when the card runs out, and only pay the cost of the call. 119 is the code to make international calls from Cuba.
Global Roaming in Cuba
Celular or mobile phones from other countries will work in most cities in Cuba if they meet the following requirements:
- Your phone works on the the 900Mhz frequency band
- Your operating network has a contract with the Cuban mobile network CUBACEL. You with have to check this with your own mobile phone operating network for this.
- You have the global roaming service activated
If your foreign mobile phone works in Cuba on global roaming, it will also be able to access the internet.
The connection for this is quite slow and rates can be very expensive so it is highly recommended to check the data roaming rates for Cuba with your mobile phone service provider in your own country before using mobile internet on global roaming in Cuba.
Local Mobile Phone Service
Cuba's only mobile phone operator, CUBACEL, provides the service of renting SIM cards for tourists to use in their mobile phones, thus providing them with a local mobile phone number while they are in Cuba.
The cost of renting a SIM card is 3 CUC per day, and to rent a handset costs 6 CUC per day. There is no official system for tourists to buy a SIM card in Cuba.
If you are using your own handset, it needs to work on the 900MHz frequency band for it to work in Cuba.
Post in Cuba
The postal system in Cuba is reasonably reliable, although sometimes very much slower than in other countries.
However, anything larger than a letter or a postcard sometimes gets 'lost' in the system.
There are some attractive and interesting post cards widely sold in Cuba (old photos of Che, Fidel, and the
'heroes of the revolution' being quite popular). You can also buy pre-paid postcards in Cuba from the
shops which are quite convenient and do work. The cost of sending a postcard internationally is about 1 CUC.