Cuba to launch Internet access on mobile phones

Internet access via mobile phones starts for all Cubans

'Internet in your pocket!: Cubans finally allowed mobile access to online world

Cuba announced Tuesday night that its citizens will be offered full internet access for mobile phones beginning this week, becoming one of the last nations to offer such service.

Cuba has one of the world's lowest rates of internet use, but service began expanding in recent years under then President Raul Casto, and current President Miguel Diaz-Canel has said he wants to expand connectivity for Cubans.

Andujar said he will use the service to check email and check some information, but he will continue to use Wi-Fi for family conversations by video and other downloads because the prices for the new service are high for Cubans.

The promise of wide mobile access to the Internet comes more than a year after Google helped boost Internet speeds within Cuba, installing servers through a deal with ETECSA.

The cost will be out of reach for many Cubans as the average state wage is around $30 per month, and many people rely on remittances from relatives overseas or side gigs to get by.

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"It was about time this became a possibility for Cubans too", Havana resident Joaquin Montiel, 58, said. "But for some, like me, it's still a remote one".

It provides mobile service through almost 800 3G base stations and more than 1,000 2G stations.

TRANSLATION: Today, the Ministry of Communications will announce and explain mobile internet service n Mesa Redonda.

Perdomo said the new service is part of Cuba's policy to expand internet coverage, which has widely developed in the country since 2013.

"We already know that independent journalists and bloggers work in a legal limbo that exposes them to arbitrary detentions and we know that their work is already blocked and filtered", said Louise Tillotson, Amnesty International's researcher for the Caribbean.

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However, the government has made a decision to continue the relaxation of restrictions to Internet access, which had largely been confined to hotels and state-owned clubs prior to the start of the decade.

Access at the public Wi-Fi hotspots costs the equivalent of $1 an hour and people complain of slow connection speeds and no privacy.

ETECSA vice president Tania Velázquez said the new service would come online in stages from Thursday through Saturday to avoid the congestion that struck the mobile network during a series of heavily criticized tests this year.

But the fee to access internet in hotels is expensive and many Cubans complain about having to courageous insects and elements to use the outdoor hotspots, which also lack privacy. Accessing state-run applications and websites like Ecured, a Cuban Wikipedia, could be cheaper for citizens, added Velázquez.

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