HAVANA/NEW YORK – Cuban state telecom monopoly Etecsa and Sprint of the United States signed on Monday in Havana the first accord for direct roaming between the two countries.
The service will be operational “in the next few weeks,” as soon as technical tests are completed, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure told the press.
Claure signed the accord Monday, together with the Etecsa director of mobile services, Hilda Arias, at the Havana International Fair (FIHAV 2015), the biggest annual multi-sector trade fair in the Caribbean, which opened Monday in the Cuban capital.
As a result of the agreement, Sprint’s 60 million clients will be able to “make and receive calls, send and receive text messages and transmit data on the Etecsa network with their own mobile phones,” according to the joint communique, something that has been impossible up to now on U.S. telecom lines.
Etecsa and Sprint signed last Sept. 22, 2015, an accord for direct connections through the ALBA-1 undersea cable – which connects Cuba and Venezuela – for direct calls between Cuba and the United States.
In record time, just a few weeks later, that accord has become a reality, and I feel very pleased about that, Claure said in a statement to the press.
Sprint, a company based in the state of Kansas, which provides mobile and landline telephone service as well as Internet connections, is the fourth largest wireless telecom company in the United States.
Roaming is part of Sprint’s growth strategy and is something it has already established in Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries.