Monday, March 17, 2008

On the line

Now that the Castro brothers have kindly decided to allow Cubans to buy computers and DVD players without the need for written government permission, there is growing speculation the next step is likely to be free access to mobile (or cellular) phones.

According to publicly-available figures, only about 0.2 per cent of the population currently have access to mobile phones – and most of these are government officials.

However, as this report by online technology magazine The Inquirer notes, the Cuban mobile phone company - known as Cubacel - has an extensive network in place already.

Of course, the network is currently reserved largely for tourists, who are able to dial home from the comfort of their poolside deck chairs in any of the major tourist sites and resorts dotted around the island.

As you can expect, the likely opening of this network to ordinary Cubans (or at least those able to pay for the connection and the handsets), is eagerly awaited by handset manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung, Erickson, etc.

As The Inquirer concludes, “it’s a market ripe for exploitation”.


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