Phones in Cuba
The Cuban national phone and internet provider is named ETECSA. This
company operates throughout the island and has a virtual monopoly over all
telephone and internet services. There are thousands of ETECSA offices and
stores located throughout the island. They are often found in shopping centers,
along busy streets, in most hotel lobbies and airports. For all your communication
needs, such as getting a cell phone line, purchasing cell phone credit or purchas-
ing phone cards, simply visit any ETECSA store.
Most Cuban households have their own personal land line telephone. The land line
telephone service is extremely cheap, with a monthly bill usually costing no more
than 20 to 30 pesos (MN).
There is also a highly developed network of public phones in most cities and small
towns. Cubans purchase calling cards which enable them to use these phones al-
most as cheaply as their own home phones. The calling cards are called Tarjetas
Propia , and can be purchased in denominations of 5 or 10 pesos (MN). These
cards last for hours of talk time and can be recharged in smaller or larger denomin-
ations. Foreigners are permitted to purchase these phone cards as well. They are
an excellent resource to have in order to communicate with anybody on the island.
The Tarjetas Propia cannot be used for international phone calls.
International Calling cards
The cheapest method to make international calls is to buy an international phone
card ( tarjeta internacional ). These can be acquired at any ETECSA point of sale
office. They cost 10 CUC. These phone cards allow you to use any land line or
public phone to make international calls. The instructions on how to use the card
are written on the back. You always simply dial the number 166 in order to enter
the directory, and then you enter your card number and the pin. Most international
calls cost between 1.40 CUC per minute (North America) and 1.50 CUC (rest of
the world). While still expensive, this is the cheapest option. All other international
calling cards purchased from sources outside the country will not function in Cuba.
You can also use your international cards to make local calls, but this will be ex-
pensive. The best option for local calls is to use the Tarjetas Propia, as mentioned
Despite being expensive, cell phones have become very popular over the last few
years. In Cuba, all cell phone service is sold as a pay-as-you-go plan. The price for
a Cuban to open a cell phone line (buy a SIM card and phone number), is 30 CUC.