- Will my U.S. mobile phone work in Cuba?
Maybe. Your U.S. mobile phone will work in Cuba if your mobile phone is capable of roaming in Cuba and your mobile service provider has an international roaming agreement with ETECSA, Cuba's state-owned telecommunications provider. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile currently have roaming agreements with ETECSA.
Ask your mobile service provider about per-usage calling, data and text rates, as well as promotional or discount plans that apply to Cuba. Most carriers offer plans or reduced rates for international voice and data roaming. The telecommunications market in Cuba is changing rapidly, so check with your mobile service provider for the latest rates before you travel.
Another way you can use your U.S. mobile phone in Cuba is to rent a SIM card, which essentially turns your personal mobile phone into a local phone for voice and data. If you have an unlocked GSM-capable phone, you can rent a SIM card from Cubacel, ETECSA's mobile service provider. The SIM card comes with pre-paid minutes, though daily rental, per-minute call, and texting fees also apply. As an alternative, Digicel Cuba offers a roaming SIM card for use in Cuba that you can purchase through Digicel or Amazon. Applicable usage fees apply.
- Can I buy or rent a mobile phone in the United States to use in Cuba?
Yes. There are some specialized mobile phone companies that provide travel phones for Cuba and other countries. Before you leave for Cuba, you can rent a compatible mobile phone from companies such as Cellular Abroad (offered by National Geographic), Cello Mobile, or Mobal for use in Cuba. Ask about the per-usage calling and text rates. Depending on the type of phone rented, data may also be available at an additional cost. You can also ask your U.S. mobile service provider if it offers travel phones for Cuba, and verify current (or any recent changes in) rates and terms of service applicable to roaming in Cuba.
- Can I rent a mobile phone in Cuba to use in Cuba?
Yes. An alternative to using your U.S. mobile phone is to rent a mobile phone upon arrival in Cuba from Cubacel. Cubacel charges a one-time refundable deposit, plus a daily rental fee. You should expect to pay all of the applicable per-minute call charges. For current costs and information, visit etecsa.cu.
- Can people in the United States call me in Cuba?
Yes, people in the United States can call you in Cuba if you are using an operating phone in Cuba. As noted above, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile also offer international roaming in Cuba per the rates and terms of service specified by each carrier.
Prices for calls to Cuba from the United States vary and depend on the provider and the caller's plan. You should check with your provider about the cost of making a call to Cuba using its service prior to making the call, as calling without an international calling plan or similar arrangement can cost several dollars per minute.
To call from the United States, the caller will need to dial 011 (or + sign from a mobile phone), followed by 53 (Cuba's country code), followed by the Cuban phone number, which consists of six to eight digits for landlines (including the area code) or eight digits for mobile phones.
Example: Calling Cuba from a U.S. landline: 011-53-5555-5555
Example: Calling Cuba from a U.S. mobile phone: +53-5555-5555
- How can I place phone calls to the United States from Cuba?
Calling the United States from a landline in Cuba:
To make landline phone calls from Cuba, you can buy a pre-paid calling card (available at certain hotels and resorts) for use at public payphones. To call the United States using a pre-paid calling card, follow these steps:
- Dial 166, then dial the card code, followed by the hash key (#);
- Dial 119 (the international line access code), then 1 (the U.S. country code); and
- Enter the ten-digit area code and phone number you wish to call, followed by the hash key.
Another option, although a more expensive one, is to place international phone calls from a hotel landline, either in your room or the lobby. On average, calls from a tourist hotel to the United States cost about US$2.50 per minute. To call the United States from a hotel landline, dial 119, then 1, followed by the ten-digit area code and phone number.
Calling the United States from a mobile phone in Cuba:
To call the United States from Cuba using a mobile phone, use the same dialing format as calling from a hotel landline – dial 119, then 1, followed by the ten-digit area code and phone number.
- Can I access the Internet in Cuba?
Yes. You can access the Internet in Cuba by using a prepaid NAUTA Internet card at an ETECSA Wi-Fi hot spot. You can buy a NAUTA card at ETECSA offices, at hotels, or at the airport.
In larger cities like Havana and Santiago de Cuba, ETECSA runs an increasing number of telepuntos, or small Internet cafés. You can purchase an access ticket at the telepuntos that will provide you with a username and password, allowing you to log on to the public computers and use the Internet by the minute or the hour. Connection speeds vary widely and may not support voice or video calls.
Many of the larger hotels also have either a computer or business center where you can purchase Internet access. You should check Internet availability and charges at your intended hotel before booking and travel.
- Is there WiFi in Cuba?
Yes. As noted above, there are hundreds of Wi-Fi spots in Cuba. Additionally, major hotels and resorts across Cuba offer Wi-Fi. Be sure to contact your hotel to verify availability, speed and cost in advance of travel.
Some travel websites provide lists of Wi-Fi hotspot locations. Like at the telepuntos, you will need to purchase an access ticket from ETECSA before you can log on to the Wi-Fi network. Before using Wi-Fi when traveling, check out the FCC's Wireless Connections and Blue-Tooth Security Tips: fcc.gov/consumers/guides/how-protect-yourself-online.