Cuban Wireless Market Officially Open

As of yesterday, Wired reports, Cubans are now legally allowed to buy cellphones. Previously, they had to rely on foreigners to sign up on their behalf.

“As you’d expect, the service isn’t cheap: the average wage is around US$18 per month, the cheapest cellphone costs US$65 and a contract US$120,” the article said. “Add to that the fact that the money has to be paid in CUCs, a hard currency tied to the US$ and which is not universally available, and you can see that mobiles are still very much a luxury item, although the fact that you can now make international calls will make it worth it for some.”

The report said that in a bit of an odd development, the telcos will be using wireless revenue to—get this—build out copper wire land lines. “Even Africa is skipping this step, concentrating instead on cheaper and faster to build cell networks.”