Thursday, April 22, 2010

Etecsa charges less, hopes to earn more

“Although cellular phone rates are still high for most people,” a Granma report begins, the Cuban phone monopoly Etecsa is cutting rates “with the objective of increasing access to these services and the traffic of phone calls on the network.”

Here’s the deal: per-minute rates for calls on prepaid cell phone accounts will be 0.45 convertible pesos (which I believe is unchanged from the current rate), except for 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., when a 0.10 convertible peso rate will apply. Also, international long distance rates will fall for both cellular and fixed-line accounts; rates will be 42 percent to 75 percent lower. Calls to the western hemisphere will now cost 1.60 convertible pesos per minute except for the United States (1.845) and Venezuela (1.40), and calls to the rest of the world will be 1.80 per minute.

Also, a “calling party pays” scheme will be introduced. Now, both parties to a call pay 0.45 per minute. Now, a caller will be able to signal the other party that he will pay all the charges for the call, so it will cost nothing for the other party to answer. There will also be a way for the person receiving the call to pay all the charges. In either case, the charge will be 0.60 per minute.

Other information from a press conference with communications ministry official Maximo Lafuente:

  • There were 43,343 cellular accounts in 2003, and 838,370 as of the end of last month, with more than 600,000 added since 2008.

  • 70 percent of Cuban territory with 77 percent of the population has signal coverage.

  • Cuba has roaming agreements with 306 carriers in 128 countries, and 2.2 million people used those services in Cuba last year.

Juventud Rebelde story here. An earlier item on cellular rates here, noting that activation fees for new accounts have fallen from 120 to 60 to 40 convertible pesos.

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