Communicating in Cuba
May 25, 2005 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Can we use our cell phones in Cuba?

My soon-to-be wife and I are planning a two week honeymoon to Cuba. The first question that came to mind was cell phone use in Cuba, I've done some research and it looks like our phones won't work there, can anyone confirm? Also, what are peoples opinions on just picking up a couple of the 2 mile two-way radios that are all the rage with the kiddies these days?
posted by Cosine to Travel & Transportation around Cuba (11 answers total)
Where are you coming from / what kind of phones do you have?
posted by dersins at 11:53 AM on May 25, 2005

Coming from Canada.

My phone: Blackberry 6280, Rogers.

Her phone: LG cheap (not sure the model) Telus
posted by Cosine at 11:57 AM on May 25, 2005

Don't know nothin' 'bout those cold, cold canadian phones, but I suggest you contact your respective cell phone providers and ask them if there is coverage in the area. that's what i do whenever I travel out of the country.

My friends visited canada last year, and their (U.S.) cell phones had exactly zero reception.

Which really isn't all that surprising when you consider the whole "embargo" thing.
posted by dersins at 12:05 PM on May 25, 2005

Near as I can tell, for your Blackberry 6280, it has the wrong international band to work in Cuba. The 6280 uses 850/1800/1900 but based on GSM coverage of Cuba, Cuba only has 900MHz GSM. In temrs of your wife's phone, it appears that the standard Telus phone is CDMA and CDMA can be a big pain to roam with.

Your best option, it appears, if you want a phone is to rent a phone that'll work on Cuba's GSM network or find out if there are any other networks you can rent a phone for. If you search for "cuba cell phone" you find some possible options.
posted by skynxnex at 12:10 PM on May 25, 2005

There's a Canadian embargo? I hadn't noticed. ;)
posted by Cosine at 12:15 PM on May 25, 2005

Yeah, looks likes it's a no go... oh well... the blackberry almost works, the LG is no way, anyone have experience with the small two-way radios?
posted by Cosine at 12:16 PM on May 25, 2005

I have a couple of two-way radios that I use with my friends. I wouldn't trust the two mile units. You can count on maybe a block of real-world use with those.

I use a set of ten mile radios, and they work great.
posted by SlyBevel at 1:13 PM on May 25, 2005

Why not go hit ebay for an unlocked SIM phone that does 900? and just search for 'unlocked' and look at the descriptions to unsure they use 900mhz.

If you don't care how ghetto it is you will almost certainly be able to find something. shows several Canada cities as well, you could post a -wanted- with your specific need there.

Seems to me you could probably find an old phone for the same price as those radios.
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on May 25, 2005

Just keep in mind that any use of the Cuban GSM network (if such a thing exists) will contribute money to a regime that has killed thousands of people for dissent.
posted by el_lindo at 7:30 PM on May 25, 2005

el_lindo, you mean as opposed to the two-week honeymoon that won't be doing any such thing...?

(I say this in an effort to get you to reason out that if they've decided to honeymoon there, they've clearly decided it's OK to put money into the coffers of Cuba.)
posted by delfuego at 8:34 PM on May 25, 2005

delfuego, I just wanted to subtly remind anyone who reads this post that dollars spent in Cuba directly feeds the oppression that exists there. Much as I would prefer not to rain on Cosine's parade wedding, it's hard for me to not bring that to light especially when on one else has.
posted by el_lindo at 9:55 PM on May 25, 2005

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