WILL MY CELL PHONE WORK IN CUBA?
CELL PHONES IN CUBA / CALLING HOME
Be aware it can cost up to $3.00 per minute to call the United States from Cuba. Your best value is to call home and have the person return your call. Calling Cuba from the U.S. can also be expensive, especially if you do not have an international calling plan. With a calling plan, expect to pay about $1.00 per minute to call Cuba from the U.S. As of October 2015, Verizon has entered into contract with Cuba for cellular service. If you have a Verizon phone, your phone will switch to the Cubacel network once you have arrived in Cuba. However, please keep in mind that unless you have an international plan on your cell phone, you will be charged International Roaming fees which can be extremely expensive.
The set-up and use of a cell phone in Cuba is both lengthy and costly. Also, obtaining a Cuban cell phone (or SIM card) can only be done by a Cuban resident. The process listed below is time-consuming and frequently frustrating. (Not recommended) If you are in Havana, there are two places where you can get your cell phone operational. One is Cubacel in Miramar (Calle 28 #510, Tel 05-880-2222 or 05-264-2266 for client attention). The other is at the airport, where Cubacel has offices in both Terminals #2 and #3. You can either bring your own cell phone or rent a cell phone in Cuba. If you rent a phone, there is a CUC 100 refundable deposit, plus CUC 7/day rental for the equipment and CUC 3/day rental for a line (total CUC 10/day).
If you bring your own phone, it’s only CUC 3/day to rent a line, but you’ll have to take out a minimum of CUC 10 credit to use the phone. Obviously, it’s most economical to bring your own cell phone. But to be activated for use in Cuba, your cell phone must be GSM working in the 900 MHz band width or else it won’t work. A tri-band phone is even better. SIM cards (pre-paid with a certain amount of time on it) are available from all CUBACEL offices and enable you to call anywhere in Cuba and receive calls. These can be purchased for CUC 10, 20 or 40 each.
WILL I HAVE WI-FI ACCESS FOR MY LAPTOP?
WI-FI INTERNET & EMAIL SERVICE
Wi-Fi can be found at some hotels, (Hotel Nacional or Hotel Parque Central) with the purchase of a Wi-Fi card. At the hotel Parque Central the cost for a 60 minute Wi-Fi card is 2 CUC. Internet connections are slower in Cuba, therefore it is recommended that you download your emails, disconnect while responding, and reconnect to send them so as to preserve your minutes, however not all webmail servers allow you to do this and using Microsoft Outlook to send emails doesn’t always work. Certain hotels may also offer use of their business center computers for an additional fee.