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Cuba reduces cell phone activation fee 80 pct
[June 10, 2010]

Cuba reduces cell phone activation fee 80 pct

(EFE Ingles Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Havana, Jun 10 (EFE).- The Cuban government has reduced the cost of activating a cell phone by 80 percent since service was authorized in 2008, state media reported Thursday.

The initial activation fee of about $120 for prepaid service has now fallen to $43, the Juventud Rebelde newspaper said.

State-owned telecom company ETECSA has cut the activation fee to make service more readily accessible and expand the use of cell phones on the island.

Nearly 1 million cell phones are now in use in Cuba.

"Getting a cellular line today costs approximately some 80 percent less than in April 2008," ETECSA communications director Luis Manuel Naranjo told Juventud Rebelde.

ETECSA realizes that slashing the activation fee "is not enough," but "people should understand that expanding access to cell phone service is a costly challenge in terms of investment and resources," Naranjo said.

Current economic conditions in Cuba do not allow "an accelerated reduction in prices," ETECSA said.

The company's strategy is to gradually reduce the cost of service over time.

President Raul Castro's government authorized cell phone service in March 2008, giving ordinary Cubans access to a service that had previously been restricted to foreigners, state-owned buinesses and government agencies.

ETECSA expects the number of cell phones in use on the island to break the 1 million mark by the end of this year and reach 2.4 million by 2015. EFE arj/hv (c) 2010 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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