Boost Mobile, a unit of US telecoms operator Sprint Corporation, has announced the launch of a pre-paid plan tailored for customers making calls and sending texts to Cuba. The ‘Cuba Monthly Connect’ tariffs start at USD50 per month and include the ‘lowest introductory rate per minute among pre-paid carriers to call Cuba’ and unlimited free texting to the island, while customers can also get a free 4G LTE device when porting their number to Boost from any carrier. Boost says that the limited-time offer is available only at authorised wireless dealer locations in the Miami area. ‘Cuba Monthly Connect is the perfect plan for Miami residents looking for the best value to call Cuba,’ said Dow Draper, president of Boost Mobile and Sprint Prepaid, adding: ‘With the recent government expansion of relations with Cuba, and Miami being an important market for the Boost brand, we wanted to combine a promotion with a way to give back to Cuban-Americans and make it easier for them to call friends and family in Cuba.’
In December 2014 the US initiated new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to telecoms and their ability to communicate freely, as part of steps to change relations between the two countries and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. The US said it will authorise the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems. In a further step, Washington is allowing telecoms providers to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecoms and internet services, which will improve communication between the island and the US. In February New Jersey-based IDT Telecom signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) to exchange international long-distance (ILD) traffic, and earlier this month IDT began handling direct calls between the US and Cuba, making it the first US-based telecoms company with a direct connection to the island.