C&W sets Cuba record straight
By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom
Thursday 04 March 2010
Telecoms operator says media reports about its ambitions in Cuba went
too far; reductions in activation charges drive mobile growth in country.
Cable & Wireless is interested in Cuba's telecoms market, but is not as
close to brokering a deal as U.K. press reports suggested at the weekend.
A spokesperson for Cable & Wireless explained to Total Telecom that the
company is in the running for a subsea cable deal linking Cuba with
Jamaica, but it is not – as the Sunday Times suggested – close to
agreeing a deal.
The spokesman also disputed the assumption made by a number of media
outlets that Cable & Wireless is actively seeking to acquire a stake in
state-run Cuban telecoms incumbent Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de
Cuba, known as Etecsa.
While signing on the dotted line for the cable link would be a good
stepping stone to working with the Cuban government to serve the
country's telecoms market, talk of buying into Etecsa went too far, he said.
As its stands, Telecom Italia holds a 27% stake in Etecsa, although it
is reportedly looking to sell.
The latest figures from the Italian incumbent show that Cuba was home to
1.11 million landlines, including public phones, at the end of September
2009, having added just 200 new connections in nine months. Internet
customers numbered 27,100 at the same date, up from 25,800 at the start
of the year.
However, growth in the mobile space has been more impressive, although
far from explosive, in recent months.
There were close to 546,000 mobile customers in Cuba as of 30 September,
up 65% from just 331,700 at the end of 2008; the market is 94% prepaid.
According to Telecom Italia, growth stemmed from reductions in
activation charges in December 2008 and again in May 2009.
C&W sets Cuba record straight (4 March 2010)