Cuba cuts international rates to $1 per minute
Associated Press, 08.17.09, 06:48 PM EDT
HAVANA — Cuba says it's reducing international calling rates for
residents with land lines to $1 a minute.
Cuba's telecommunications monopoly, Etecsa, says the discount applies to
all international calls through Dec. 15. Details of the promotion
appeared on its Web site and were confirmed Monday by a company
representative who did not provide his name.
Residential calls from Cuba had cost $2.45 a minute to the United States
and Canada, $3.45 to Central America and $5.85 to Europe. Most Cubans
don't have Internet access and cannot afford cell phones or computers.
Despite the cuts, international dialing remains a costly proposition for
most Cubans whose average state wages are $20 a month.
News of the offer hadn't been published by state media as of Monday.
Etecsa said details about the plan will appear on residents' telephone
bills. Residents wanting to call abroad must first request activation of
international calling service, the company said.
No reason was given for the discount. But Cuba is dealing with a severe
economic crisis that has affected islanders and prompted the government
to announce spending cuts for education and health care, two pillars of
its communist system.
Three hurricanes last year caused more than $10 billion in damage. The
global recession has cut export earnings and caused budget deficits to
soar, leaving Cuba short of cash. The government's most recent forecast
puts 2009 economic growth at 1.7 percent, compared to a 6 percent
forecast made in December.
Etecsa said it will announce new international rates for cell phone
users but provided no details. The government made private service
available to all islanders in 2008. Cell phones previously were
restricted to foreigners and Cubans with key state jobs.
Cuba cuts international rates to $1 per minute – Forbes.com (18 August 2009)