First Order of Business for the New Cuban Government: Cell Phones for All!

Dennis Faas's picture

Imagine the surprise of the Cuban nation (and the rest of the world for that matter) when one of the first orders of business for the new government of Raul Castro was giving the average Cuban citizen an opportunity to own their first cell phone. Previously, only employees of foreign firms or high-standing political officers were the ones to own a cell phone. (Source:

When the current President of Cuba Raul Castro rose to power this past February, many feared that his political views would reflect the authoritarian style of his older brother. Under the Fidel Castro regime, many Cuban citizens were susceptible to a great deal of political influence in their daily lives.

While most are hoping that this small token of freedom is a sign of things to come, the Cuban government continues to control over 90 per cent of the economy. While the communist regime ensures free housing, education, health and basic needs, the average monthly salary of a Cuban citizen is between 400-410 pesos, the equivalent of a little less than $20 USD.

Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A was awarded the rights to provide for the monopolized cell phone service. The company will ask its new clientele to sign prepaid contracts in Cuban Convertible Pesos.

The downside to the deal: Cuban Convertible Pesos go for roughly 24 times the value of the standard pesos that most Cubans are paid in. This means that while cell phones will be available for purchase in the very near future, the vast majority of the population will be unable to afford it. (Source:

Still, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A believes that Cuban-owned cell phones provide a tremendous foundation for which to constantly improve telecommunication systems using cable technology further down the road. Eventually, the company hopes to expand their services to be purchased in standard pesos, making it truly affordable for the average Cuban citizen.

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