According to regional press reports, Cuba’s number of fixed line connections is growing and fast mobile growth is expected for this year.
Cuba’s state-owned telecommunications operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) had connected more than 143,000 residential fixed broadband subscribers by the end of 2019. This is more than double the year-end figure of 70,418 for 2018.
As for wireless connectivity, in an interview in the regional press, ETECSA president Mayra Arevich Marin was quoted as saying that the company’s mobile user base had grown to over six million subscribers, 70 percent of whom were smartphone users.
In this case, however, the offering is mainly via the operator’s 2G and 3G networks (the operator is planning to expand the capacity and coverage of its recently launched 4G network).
Even in this context, the company’s plans for 2020 do seem fairly ambitious: an additional 200,000 mobile subscribers by the end of the year, as well as 634,000 mobile internet subscribers.
There’s still some way to go, however. GSMA Intelligence data indicate that SIM penetration of the country’s 11.3 million population is only around 51 percent at the moment, even if growth does seem to be speeding up. And ETECSA, the monopoly full telecommunications service provider, is the only game in town. There are no other operators and services are not cheap for the average Cuban.