HAVANA, Nov 12 (EFE) Cuban state telecoms company Etecsa said Tuesday it is relaxing its service restrictions and will allow ordinary citizens to obtain up to three wireless phone lines, state-run media reported.
Individuals on the island, where mobile telephony use has grown quickly since President Raul Castro’s government lifted a ban on personal cellphone ownership in 2008, had previously been limited to a single wireless line.
The new policy, set to take effect in February 2015, responds to the need to “relax contracting terms and the use of mobile ground telecommunications service,” Etecsa said in a resolution that the Communications Ministry published in the Official Gazette.
Earlier this month, the company lifted another restriction that had required users of pre-paid cellular service – the only option available to Cubans – to buy a minimum amount of minutes per month or else lose their wireless line.
Under the new rules, users must buy a minimum amount of minutes annually. Among other developments this year in Cuba’s mobile telephony market, Etecsa also inaugurated a new wireless e-mail service, although it does not allow Internet access.
Demand for that local wireless e-mail (located on Cuba’s intranet) exceeded the company’s expectations in just a few weeks, leading to system crashes. The number of wireless subscribers in Cuba – whose population was just over 11 million in 2012 – climbed to nearly 2 million last year, according to official figures.