STAYING CONNECTED IN CUBA
Your trip to Cuba is an excellent opportunity to get in a digital detox. For those travelers who can't get off the grid, however, it's possible to stay connected in Cuba--you just have to accept that your Cuban roaming comes with Cuban roaming charges.
CUBA MOBILE PHONE SERVICE
Personal Mobile Phone Service in Cuba
It’s possible that your mobile phone will work in Cuba as some U.S. service providers have already or are beginning to make contracts with the ETECSA (Cuba’s national telecommunications company) to provide roaming services.
Verizon and Sprint currently offer roaming services in Cuba. Check to see if your provider offers a roaming plan and if your mobile phone is capable of roaming when in Cuba. Further, inquire about additional charges for data, outgoing messages, and voice calls.
You can also rent a SIM card from Cubacel to use your U.S. mobile phone in Cuba. This, however, only works if your phone is unlocked and GSM-capable. Cubatel’s SIM cards come with pre-paid minutes, and a daily rental fee is included.
Renting U.S. Mobile Phones for Cuban Travel
Renting a U.S. Phone Before You Go
A select number of specialized mobile phone companies provide travel phones compatible with Cuban roaming. Before traveling to Cuba, you can rent compatible phones from Mobal, Cello Mobile, or National Geographic’s Cellular Abroad. Expect rental fees and additional texting and per-minute call charges with data optional depending on the type of phone rented.
Renting a Phone in Cuba
You can rent a phone from Cubacel upon your arrival in Cuba. Cubacel offices are located in Havana’s José Martí International Airport. Expect a nonrefundable deposit as well a daily fee, and additional texting and per-minute call charges still apply. Data’s not available on these rented phones.
CUBA INTERNET ACCESS
ETECSA operates a number of internet cafés locally known as telepuntos in larger cities such as Havana and Santiago. You may purchase an access ticket in telepuntos that allow you to use the internet by the hour or by the minute.
Hotel Business Centers
Many of the larger, modern hotels have a business center where guests can purchase internet access.
ETECSA offers 65 public WiFi locations as of January, 2016. WiFi access in public locations costs an hourly rate, and much like at telepuntos guests must purchase an access pass from ETECSA in order to log on.
Approximately 50 major resorts and hotels throughout Cuba offer WiFi, and they generally charge an hourly rate.
Check out the FCC’s Cuba telecommunications FAQs page for further details!