Cubans get in­ter­net on mo­bile phones

The Maui News - - WORLD -

HA­VANA — For the first time, av­er­age Cubans be­came el­i­gi­ble to sign up for in­ter­net ser­vice for their mo­bile phones Thurs­day, a de­vel­op­ment long awaited on the com­mu­nistruled is­land.

Users be­gan re­ceiv­ing text mes­sages in the morn­ing from the state tele­phone monopoly in­form­ing them that they can buy an in­ter­net ac­cess pack­ages for 3G ser­vice.

Pre­vi­ously, nearly all Cubans could use their mo­bile phones only to get their staterun email ac­counts un­less they con­nected to the in­ter­net at a lim­ited num­ber of gov­ern­ment-sponsored Wi-Fi spots.

The new ser­vice is be­ing made avail­able grad­u­ally through Satur­day de­pend­ing on a user’s phone num­ber, to avoid the con­ges­tion that struck Cuba’s mo­bile net­work dur­ing a se­ries of heav­ily crit­i­cized tests this year.

The phone com­pany is of­fer­ing pack­ages rang­ing from 600 megabytes for about $7 to four gi­ga­bytes for about $30, which is in line with charges else­where but high for most Cubans, whose salaries av­er­age $30 to $50 a month.

The in­ter­net is mostly un­cen­sored in Cuba.

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