Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Thereafter, talking credit must also be purchased. A minimum of 5 CUC of talk
credit must be purchased per month in order to maintain the account active. Local
talk rates are 35 cents (CUC) per minute, and drop to 10 cents (CUC) at night
(from 11pm to 7am). For calls between two cell phones, the caller always pays for
the use. For calls between a land line and a cell phone, the cell phone user al-
ways pays. Text messages cost 9 cents (CUC) to send. All international incoming
calls are free to receive. The cost to make international outgoing calls varies
between 1.60 CUC per minute to North America and 1.80 CUC per minute to the
rest of the world. Limited-time promotions and discounts are common, but, gener-
ally, using a cell phone for international calls is prohibitively expensive.
Only Cuban citizens are permitted to own a Cuban cell phone line. Foreigners can
only rent a line. The price of this rental is 3 CUC per day, in addition to purchasing
talk time credit. If you are going to be renting a cell phone line, it is best to bring
your own unlocked cell phone. Note that only GSM phones (these phones are
characterized by having a SIM card) which can operate on the 900mhz spectrum
will work in Cuba. Most modern cell phones meet this requirement. Talk rates are
the same as mentioned in the above paragraph.
Foreign-based Cell Phones
If you are intending on using your personal, foreign-based cell phone in Cuba,
you should expect to incur expensive roaming charges. Most phone plans, even
ones with international call plans, do not include Cuba. If your cell phone will be
your main mode of telephone communication, make absolutely sure, before you
arrive in Cuba, that your roaming plan offers competitive rates. If you do not have
a suitable roaming plan, you can expect to pay about 4$ per minute on interna-
tional and local calls originating in Cuba, and at least 1$ per text message.
More information about using the internet and how to use phones will be provided
later in this topic.
Interesting Fact: Due to the high cost of cell phone rates, Cubans have developed
an innovative way to communicate. Rather than using cell phones like regular
phones, most Cubans simply use them as pagers. For example, a Cuban might
use their home phone to call a friend's cell phone. Instead of answering the cell
phone, the friend will dismiss the call and then find a cheap public phone to call
back from. This way, the cell phone is never charged because the call is never ini-
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