Thursday, 20 March 2008

Part 4: Mobile phones

Before I left I was even contemplating leaving my mobile phone behind, after having read how poor coverage is in Cuba. Quite the contrary! CubaCel, the local mobile phone carrier, had amazingly good coverage in pretty much every city I visited - Havana, ViƱales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. And pretty much all the while in between these cities, too. Amazing.

So I'm on a GSM network here in the UK, I'm not sure how others on CDMA networks from the US will fare, and again, my handset being tri-band, I'm not sure which radio frequency spectrums of GSM are supported as my handset supports all of the major frequencies.

But, what was unexpected was the COST!! Yes, mobile phone networks love to rape your phone bill with completely unreasonable charges regardless of where you're roaming, but they've really gone the extra mile with Cuba. Actually, from what I understand, CubaCel does get a large chunk of it, so I guess it's not that bad then. :-)

I ended up paying £0.50 to receive an SMS, and £0.80 to send one. And about £2 a minute to make phonecalls. Insane!!

But at least the convenience was there and if you are travelling in a group, having SMS messages to keep in sync can be invaluable.


Dinushi said...

Cuba has good coverage of both in terms of cellular and internet. Allegedly it was Hugo Chavez who is supplying Cuba with its internet service.
My GBP 100 phone bill after two weeks in Cuba wasn't pretty though. Ouch, very ouch.

Unknown said...

Feel good......

MaryJohn said...

good one

MaryJohn said...

When someone travels to a foreign land they will have to face roaming charges if they stick on to the original carrier they are avoid the roaming charges one can either rent a mobile in the foreign country or use a local sim.

When you rent a mobile be careful to read the regulations and lease period. Renting a cell phone is advised for those who are traveling overseas for only one or two weeks.

Another option is to use a local sim with your mobile. For that your mobile should be unlocked one so as to accept the sim card that you insert. If it is locked with a particular network then it won't be able to recognize or accept other networks. To unlock your phone you can approach the respective network provider or any third party unlocking websites like and follow the free unlocking instructions and remove the restriction. Once the mobile is unlocked you can use the phone with the local sim.

Choose an option depending on the number of days that you stay and the one that is economical for you.