Verizon becomes first US carrier to offer international roaming in Cuba

Subscribers can get 2G voice, text and data service starting next week

Verizon Wireless will let subscribers connect to a cell service in Cuba starting next week as the communications veil between the U.S. and its communist neighbor continues to lift after half a century of isolation.

Subscribers will be able to get international roaming service in Cuba for anything that qualifies as a World Device at Verizon. Service is strictly 2G, and rates are at the carrier's highest tier for international roaming: US$2.99 per minute for voice and $2.05 per megabyte for data, all on a pay-as-you-go basis. International messaging rates apply.

But just being able to land in Cuba and have mobile service when you turn on your U.S. phone is a pretty big deal. Carriers in other countries, like O2 in the U.K. and Telefonica's Movistar in Mexico, already offer some roaming in Cuba. Verizon says it's the first U.S. operator to make it available. Sprint says it will follow soon.

The economic sanctions the U.S. imposed for decades to put pressure on Cuba's communist government included laws that kept U.S. companies from offering communications equipment and services. But those restrictions are gradually being lifted as part of a normalization of relations between the two countries. 

On Friday, the U.S. government announced more steps to liberalize trade, including allowing people in the U.S. to set up businesses and joint ventures in Cuba for certain telecommunications and Internet-based services. The new rules, going into effect on Monday, also allow people in the U.S. to import mobile apps from Cuba and hire Cuban nationals to write apps. Companies serving the large Cuban-American population could benefit from those changes.

Cuba, a nation of 11 million, had 2.3 million mobile subscribers as of 2013, according to research company TeleGeography. Users rely on relatively slow 2G infrastructure, and the country has just 1.275Gbps (bits per second) of bandwidth to Internet, most of it from a single submarine cable from Venezuela, TeleGeography said late last year. 

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?