Cuba Cell Phones

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Our latest update to this article, on January 5, 2020: The year 2019 saw some greater achievements in the extension of digital services for telephones and internet access. Cuba demonstrates the highest growth in these services globally. Cell phone 4G technology became a reality in Havana and other major cities across the Island. By December, there were six million cell phone users, 100% digitalization of phone services achieved and more than six million people have internet access in Cuba.

Throughout this article, you can read the progress of the internet and telephone services of Cuba. It’s been a remarkable achievement to move from a country with little internet access and telephone services in 2014 to full service in 2019. It’s still a good idea to take an unlocked phone to Cuba. You can now purchase a SIM card from ETECSA in your own name for your telephone.

We’ve added some new phones here for your next trip: (and yes, you can buy Huawei phones in the United States if anyone was wondering:

Update to this article:   ETECSA began testing the 4G network in Havana on March 8, 2019.  The 4G network can now be accessed with a frequency of 1800 MHz FDD.  As you know, 80% of mobile phone manufacturers use this standard, so the probability that the mobile phone that is purchased will have access to LTE 1800 MHz FDD is most likely.

Back in November 2015, the Chinese hi tech company Huawei Technologies signed a deal with ETECSA to provide training, smart phone parts and smartphones.  This means an unlocked Huawei smartphone will work in Cuba.  Huawei is also involved in a major broadband fibre optic project in Havana.

Huawei released a new smartphone in April where they partnered with the world’s best camera company Leica.  The new P9 by Huawei is bound to cause some stiff competition for Apple’s iPhone and Samsung markets.  The P9 will retail for about €449 for 3GB of RAM (currently the Euro pricing is only available at the time of writing).  So if your smartphone is your main tool for capturing great photos while traveling, we’d recommend an unlocked Huawei phone for use in Cuba.  We’ve added Huawei phones to the list of phones to use in Cuba.  Make sure you buy an unlocked phone that has  the capability to work with the Cuban network.

Prior to this year,  Cuba’s network was the 2G mobile network GSM 900 and UMTS 2100, a second-generation of cellular telephone technology.  For a smartphone or cell phone to function in Cuba, it had to be compatible to Cuba’s network carrier.

Here’s our list of suggested unlocked smartphones for use in Cuba.   We like the unlocked BLU and Huawei phones best for using for travel on the Island.  Unlocked iPhones and Samsungs will also work of course.

These Cuba cell phones are affordable, attractive and unlocked and will function in Cuba and elsewhere globally (check out the mobile network for individual carriers elsewhere).  Most of these phones come with dual SIM card capacity whereby you can simply switch between your home SIM card and your Cuban SIM card.  Mobile phones with the unlocked dual sim card feature are excellent for traveling purposes if you’re always on the go.  Use your local SIM card in one slot and a Cuban SIM card in the other.  Switch calls between SIM cards as needed.

A Cuban SIM card can be purchased through most ETECSA offices and costs about $40 US.

These unlocked Cuba cell phones are made by BLU (Bold Like Us), a corporation with head offices in Miami.  BLU manufactures and sells these mobile devices in over 40 countries worldwide.  You can also find BLU mobile phones in Cuba, but you’ll pay a much higher price than listed here.

The Huawei phones are made in China by the Huawei Corporation which manufactures quality smartphones and is increasingly posing stiff competition to the iPhone and Samsung market leaders.

These Cuba cell phones operate on the Android operating system and are Nauta (Cuba’s email system) compatible –  if you’re planning to purchase a phone for friend or family in Cuba.  Of note:  you’ll pay much less if you buy any of these smartphones ahead of time from Amazon.  Free shipping is available with a minimum purchase.

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