Florida-based SMS Cuba has announced the launch of seamless text messaging services between the US and Cuba, enabling users to communicate directly with contacts on the Communist island with its instant, two-way, phone-to-phone messaging service. Previously, no text message service was available between the two countries from any US-based wireless carrier, but in December 2014 the US announced landmark steps towards normalising relations with Cuba, initiating new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to telecoms and their ability to communicate freely. In March 2015 New Jersey-based IDT Telecom began handling direct international long-distance (ILD) traffic between the US and Cuba, after signing an agreement with state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), while last month Boost Mobile, a unit of Sprint Corporation, launched a pre-paid plan tailored for customers making calls and sending texts to Cuba.
SMS Cuba’s founder and CEO, Frank S. Caruso, stated in a company press release: ‘I have been a student of the Cuban telecom environment for the past 20 years. I have been working on practical solutions that are easily deployable for everyday use, knowing that when the time arrived, both US and Cuban businesses and individuals would get great value from the use of these services. SMS Cuba is the first of these solutions.’
In other news, Reuters quotes Cuban finance minister Lina Pedraza as saying that the country is in advanced negotiations with Chinese telecoms equipment company Huawei to do more business on the island. He added that the Cuban telecoms sector would be open to all foreign companies but also noted that the country wanted to avoid the ‘negative parts of the internet’.