Sprint to begin roaming service in Cuba
It will be the second U.S. carrier to offer roaming on the island
Rates and timing for service will be announced soon
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
Sprint signed a roaming agreement with Cuba’s telecommunications company
Monday, becoming the second U.S. company able to provide roaming service
on the island.
As the commercial relationship between the United States and Cuba
progresses and with more U.S. travelers to the island expected, “We want
to make sure any Sprint customer traveling to Cuba can use their phone
the same way as they do in the United States,” said Marcelo Claure,
Sprint chief executive.
Claure made the announcement at a signing ceremony in Havana on a trip
to Cuba with a delegation from the U.S.-Cuba Business Council. The U.S.
Chamber of Commerce formed the advocacy group in September as part of
its commitment to building a strategic commercial relationship between
the United States and Cuba.
Sprint said rates and a start date for the service will be announced
soon. The direct arrangement includes a direct roaming agreement and a
direct long-distance interconnection between Sprint, the nation’s fourth
largest carrier, and Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA),
Cuba’s government telecom company.
In September, Verizon Wireless became the first U.S. wireless company to
offer roaming in Cuba. Customers with a world device who sign up for the
company’s Pay-As-You-Go International Travel option can make and receive
calls while traveling in Cuba. Verizon charges $2.99 per minute for
voice calls and $2.05 per megabyte for data.
Verizon’s roaming arrangement is with a third-party company, and it does
not have a direct agreement with ETECSA, said Chuck Hamby, a company
spokesman. “The feedback we’ve had so far [on the carrier’s roaming in
Cuba] has been great. Our customers tell us they like the convenience of
being able to use their own phones on the island.”
Even though the U.S. trade embargo remains in effect, as part of the
rapprochement with Cuba that began Dec. 17 last year, U.S. companies are
allowed to sell personal communications equipment and telecom services
in Cuba and to enter into agreements to improve Cuba’s Internet and
telecom infrastructure. A set of U.S. regulations released in September
went even further, allowing telecom companies to have a presence on the
island through subsidiaries, branches, offices, joint ventures,
franchises, agencies or other business relationships with ETECSA, other
businesses or individuals.
Mimi Whitefield on Twitter: @HeraldMimi
Source: Sprint to begin roaming service in Cuba | Miami Herald –