Cell Service In Cuba, 2018 Edition
January 2, 2019 2:44 PM   Subscribe

(Previously, 2016). I am embarking on a hurriedly planned trip to a music festival in Havana, leaving next week for 10 days. It seems the state of cell and internet service is in flux. Any advice based on a recent visit?

I have cell service with AT&T and use an iPhone 7; and I might need to call the US for work a few times. I'd love to get data, too, because I feel ill-prepared. But AT&T has no roaming program and it looks like calls are $3 per minute. I see there a lot of new changes afoot with Cuba setting up mobile internet but it doesn't look ready or for visitors yet. I'm hoping some metafite might have already and recently figured out what to do! I don't want to modify my phone...or get surprised with a big bill from my US provider....
posted by swlabr to Travel & Transportation around Cuba (3 answers total)
I was able to use AT&T iPhone in Cuba two summers ago. Coverage is spotty and data speeds low when available, but worked (spottily) in Havana.
posted by zeikka at 4:11 PM on January 2

I was there in March. I can't help you with the cell phone issue, but you can buy cards that get you by-the-hour access to the national internet network which provides public WiFi in determined zones (a big public park in the Vedado neighborhood was the only one I used). Internet was slow, and expensive by Cuban standards (1 CUC/hour, roughly) but I was occasionally able to get a strong enough connection to do FaceTime or Skype video calling. So maybe VOIP-ing into your office, at least, is an option?
posted by dr. boludo at 11:34 AM on January 3 [1 favorite]

Last time I was there you could access regular (“free”) gmail accounts, but not accounts set up via Google Apps for Business (paid service) because of some American law forbidding commerce with evil nations. The error dialogue that popped up said I might be trying to connect from Cuba, Iran or North Korea.
posted by Construction Concern at 4:34 PM on January 5

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