Cuba to begin full internet access for mobile phones

WIFI facing the sea

WIFI facing the sea

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.

Almost half of the Communist-run country's 11.2 million residents have cellphones although not all will be able to afford mobile internet.

Mayra Arevich is president of the Cuban state telecom monopoly.

The government will charge roughly £5.50 for 600 megabytes and £23.60 for four gigabytes.

"It was about time this became a possibility for Cubans too", Havana resident Joaquin Montiel, 58, said.

Mr Montiel said he would not be able to afford a mobile phone with 3G technology on his wage of less than $27.44 per month as a salesman in a state company.

Cuba has lagged far behind most countries in internet access, whether because of a lack of cash, a long-running U.S. trade embargo or concerns about the flow of information.

Until 2013, internet was largely only available to the public at tourist hotels on the island. But now most Cubans only earn around £15 to £23 a month.

Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel is working to increase internet connectivity throughout the country after succeeding former president Raul Castro, and has opened his own Twitter account in October.

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 criticised tests this year.

"It will be good to be able to connect to the web with greater comfort", 38-year-old netizen Guillermo Diaz told the Independent.

"The quality of service will be a key factor during the rollout of mobile internet", YucaByte editor Norges Rodriguez said as quoted by Reuters.

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