Cuba - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Cuba widens reach of 3G services

Cuba’s telecom sector remains a peculiarity, with state control having stymied rather than promoted the development of all sectors. The country has the lowest mobile phone and internet penetration rates in the region, while fixed-line teledensity is also very low. Fixed-line and mobile services remain a monopoly of the government-controlled Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETESCA Cubacel).

Although there are strict state restrictions over the right to own and use certain communications services, including the right to access the internet, a thawing of relations between the US and Cuba has encouraged the government to improve access to services. Since 2015 Wi-Fi hotspots have been put in a number of places, and though connectivity is slow and in many public areas a thriving black market has emerged in which connections are duplicated using software or nano routers, the cost of access was reduced in 2018.

Access to sites is also tightly controlled and censored. A DSL service was launched in March 2017 in areas of Havana and has since been expanded though costs have been set too high for most Cubans able to access the service. Similarly, 3G services have been launched and were available to about two-thirds of the population by the end of 2018. However, costs are high and locals accept that the technology is dated. Although ETESCA has announced plans to trial LTE there is as yet no progress evident.

Key developments:

  • ETECSA starts satellite internet service with 03b Networks;
  • US government completes second subsea cable, linking Puerto Rico with Guantanamo Bay Naval Base;
  • SMS service with the US allowed;
  • ETECSA widens 3G service reach;
  • Wi-Fi access charges reduced to CUS1 per hour;
  • Report update includes ITU data for 2017, recent market developments.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Market analysis
  • Regulatory environment

  • Fixed network operator

    • Empresa de Telecomunicaciones del Cuba (ETESCA)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • National telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
  • Broadband market

    • Introduction
    • Broadband statistics
    • DSL
    • Wi-Fi
  • Mobile market

    • Introduction
    • Mobile statistics
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 3G
    • Major mobile operator
      • ETECSA
  • Related reports

List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Cuba – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Evolution of GDP in Cuba – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 4 – International bandwidth – 2003 – 2016
  • Table 5 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 2000 – 2009
  • Table 6 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 8 –Household internet and computer penetration – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 – 2009
  • Table 10 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2002 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2002 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Submarine cable network connects Cuba and Venezuela

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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