Cell phones are new Cuban status symbol
Published: Jan. 3, 2009 at 2:37 PM
HAVANA, Jan. 3 (UPI) — Cell phones have become the new rage in Cuba
though users say they don't actually talk on them — they use them as
The Castro government began allowing cell phone purchases last April,
but the cost of using them is more than most citizens of the communist
island nation can afford, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported Saturday.
When a cell phone rings, many Cuban users look at the number and then
return the call on land-line telephones, which are plentiful and cheap,
or they type a message back, said Vladimiro Perez, a bartender in Old
Havana. "We just type," said Perez. "No talk."
Cubans can now own cell phones, DVD players, microwave ovens and
computers, but most can't afford them, the Post reported.
Text messages in Cuba cost 17 cents each, while local calls between cell
phones cost 65 cents a minute, the Post reported, noting there are an
estimated 250,000 cell phone users in Cuba, which has 11.2 million
people with an average income each of about $20 per month.