Cuba’s state-owned telecoms operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has launched a pilot 3G network in the city of Santiago de Cuba, as it gears up to extend the data service to its citizens on a wider basis. The Cuban News Agency (ACN) cites the operator’s provincial director, Gerardo Hechavarria Ferrer, as saying that the launch of 3G will increase the speed and efficiency of its ‘Nauta’ mobile e-mail and MMS services. At present, customers are able to trial the service in the city’s historic centre, including the Plaza de Marte, Trocha and La Alameda areas, before it is gradually rolled out to other locations across the province.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that a 3G platform has been available for visitors roaming in Cuba from foreign networks since 2012, providing coverage of the main tourist areas and provincial capitals, but the mobile operator is planning to launch a 3G network, utilising the 900MHz frequency band, for its Cuban customer base in the near future. In preparation for the commercialisation, in 2016 ETECSA rolled out an additional 99 3G base stations to increase the total to 229.