This guide is out of date, please refer to the Cuba Communications: Cell Phones, Land Lines and Internet Services guide of May 2014 for updated information.
You may have heard about the real restrictions on communications with the exterior in Cuba. The country has peculiar regulations for the usage of communications. These restrictions are been relaxing and tourists have some resources for communicating with the rest of the world during their stay. This guide explains the different communication ways available, prices and related issues.
Most of the communication is handed by ETECSA, the Cuban telecommunications company. This monopoly controls the call rates for land lines and mobile phones, also internet connections and the rest of communication services. The company installs land lines and keeps a network of public phones available in many places.
Fire (in Varadero): 2 85 00
The cell phone company in Cuba is named Cubacel, this is a division of ETECSA. It sells cell phones, lines and offers international roaming for certain carriers. Mobile telephony in Cuba works on GSM 900 MHz country-wide and GSM 850 MHz in La Habana, Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Guillermo.
Tourists can rent a temporary mobile line up to 6 months, at $3.00 CUC per day, and buy prepaid cards to recharge the account. You will need to present your passport and your original identity document from your country.
National calls: $0.45 per minute for the caller and the receiver. ($0.10 from 11:00 pm to 6:59 am)
International calls from cell phones (Receiving an international call is free of charge):
- To United States and associated territories: $1.85 CUC per minute
- Rest of America: $1.60 CUC per minute
- Venezuela: $1.40 CUC per minute
- Rest of the world: $1.80 CUC per minute
SMS rate is $0.16 CUC for national numbers and $1.00 CUC for international numbers. Receiving an SMS is free of charge
You can call from the cellphone of from a public phone. For use public phones you can buy a prepaid card from any ETECSA facility and rates are different:
International calls from public phones using a prepaid card:
- To United States and associated territories: $1.65 CUC per minute
- Rest of America: $1.40 CUC per minute
- Venezuela: $1.00 CUC per minute
- Rest of the world: $1.50 CUC per minute
You can get international roaming services if your carrier has business with Cubacel, refer to this list for more information. You are in international roaming if you come to Cuba using your original country cell phone.
Roaming rates are:
local calls: $0.80 CUC,
make international call: $2.25 CUC,
receive international call: $2.45 CUC
Central America, México and Caribe:
local calls: $0.85 CUC,
make international call: $2.50 CUC
receive international call: $3.40
local calls: $0.90 CUC,
make international call: $2.75 CUC,
receive international call: $4.45 CUC
Rest of the world:
local calls: $1.25 CUC,
make international call: $3.25 CUC,
receive international call: $5.85 CUC
Internet access is a kind of a complex issue. The country has problems for accessing the internet, this is attributed to many political and practical issues not covered in this site. As a tourist you will be able to use any navigation room in airports or other facilities. If you’re staying in a hotel you can use the hotel’s internet and you will be charged for this, while staying in a rent house you can’t use internet in the house, there is not such a service for Cubans so a rent house can’t offer you internet access.
The regular price in a navigation room is $3.00 CUC for 30 minutes or $6.00 CUC for 1 hour of connectivity.
- tourists can rent a line for $3.00 CUC per day
- international calls can be made from cell phones or public phones by buying a prepaid card
- is better to make international calls using a prepaid card than a cell phone
- internet access is limited and available only from certain ETECSA's facilities