Phone Calls

ETECSA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A.), in English: Telecommunications Company of Cuba, is the government-owned service provider for the entire country. Their services include: Phone service, mobile telephony (through their CUBACEL branch), Internet and wireless Internet (through their NAUTA branch). List of ETECSA commercial offices and MiniPuntos in Varadero.

Making phone calls from landlines and public phones

Pre-paid calling card CubaTourists can make phone calls using their hotel's phone service (charge to the room) at a cost of about 50-75 CUP (~$2-3 USD) per minute for international calls. But the most economical way to make phone calls in Cuba is to purchase a Tarjeta Telefónica PROPRIA, this is a prepaid calling card that provides a Personal Code that can be used with any private phone or public phone to make local, national or international calls. Instructions on how to use them appear on the back of the card. They come in denominations of 5 CUP or 10 CUP (approximately $0.20 and $0.40 USD).

You can buy them in ETECSA offices and MiniPuntos, commercial centers, airports, and some hotels and resorts sell them too. The Propria cards have a validity period of 9 months from the first call made. The cards are rechargeable, and each recharge, in addition to increasing your balance, extends its useful life for another 9 months. Recharges can be made at ETECSA's commercial offices, or through the "166" options using recharge coupons. These coupons have a value of 5, 10, 20, 30 and 100 CUP.

How to make a call via the Propria service:
Dial: 166 + Personal Code + # + Desired number + #

Here are the call rates(*) using the Propria service:
• Local calls: 0.10 CUP per 3 minutes
• National long distance calls: 0.20 to 1.00 CUP per minute (depending on distance and time of day)
• International calls to all countries except Venezuela: 25.00 CUP per minute
• International calls Venezuela: 17.50 CUP per minute
(*) Subject to change, please check the ETECSA website: www.etecsa.cu/telefonia_publica/tarifas/

There's another type of public phone that accepts coins (0.05, 0.20 or 1.00 CUP) for local and national calls (no international calls).

Canada Direct Service
ETECSA provides a toll-free number 0800-CANDA (0800-22632) to Canadians who want to make a phone call from Cuba to Canada (or any other country) and have the call charged to their own phone account in Canada.

Collect calls
Reverse charge calls can be made from designated public phones located in places of high communication need (considered Category 1) such as: polyclinics, hospitals, dental clinics, blood banks, pharmacies, funeral homes, cemeteries, maternity and nursing homes, terrestrial, naval and air public transport terminals, and facilities in charge of ticket reservations. To access the reverse charge service on these public telephones, you must dial 1 6969.

Making calls with your Cellphone

The cellphone network is operated by ETECSA and available in 900 MHz GSM standard throughout Cuba. A 3G network is available in Havana City, provincial capitals, and tourist poles in the northern part of the country (such as: Havana, Varadero, Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Ensenachos, Cayo Las Brujas, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo).

Through international Roaming
Foreigners can use their cellphone in Cuba (with their own number) via the Cubacel network, provided that their cellphone is compatible with the WCDMA standard in the frequency of 900 MHz. ETECSA has roaming agreements with hundreds of mobile carriers from more than 150 countries (listed in their website: www.etecsa.cu/telefonia_movil/roaming/). Check with your carrier to see if your cellphone has international capabilities and how to activate international roaming. However, if you prefer to avoid costly roaming charges, you may want to consider using a voice-over-IP (internet-based) app instead, such as Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, etc. Visit our Internet & WiFi page for more information on how to access the Internet.

By purchasing a Cuban SIM Card
Another less expensive way to use your cellphone in Cuba is to buy a CubacelTur SIM Card. This is a mobile temporary line for tourists visiting the island. It costs $25 USD. The line is valid for 30 days from its activation and includes:

CubacelTur Mobile Line for Tourists

2.5 GB of mobile data + 20 minutes of calls + 20 SMS

The CubacelTur mobile line can be purchased through ETECSA/Cubacel international vendors, they are: www.cubaceltur.com and www.recargasacuba.com.

You can purchased it before traveling, or while in Cuba if you access these vendors’ website using your hotel’s WiFi (or any other means of Internet access.). Once the online purchase is made, you’ll receive an email with instructions on where to pick up your SIM card. The CubacelTur SIM Cards can be picked in Terminal 3 of the Havana Airport (José Martí Airport) opened 24h, or at any ETECSA office in Cuba from 9am to 4pm.

You may purchase additional Data packages (through these same international vendors).
2 GB : $10 USD
5 GB : $20 USD
8.5 GB: $30 USD
12 GB : $40 USD

Things to know about the CubacelTur service and SIM Card:

  • It is designed for foreign tourists who visit Cuba for a short time. To buy it, you must have a foreign passport.
  • To use the service, your cellphone must be unlocked and operate in 3G (900 or 2100 MHz) or 4G (1800 MHz).
  • You must dial *666 to activate the card, once activated it is valid for 30 days.
  • Adding additional Data Packages does not extend the 30-day duration of the mobile line, it only increases the volume of data.
  • You can make national and international calls as long as you have minutes still available. You cannot purchase additional minutes of calls or SMS, only Mobile Data can be added.
  • Through the query *222 *887 #, you can check how many MB, Minutes and SMS are still available. and the expiration date of your line.

How to make a phone call from/to VARADERO:

INTERNATIONAL CALLS :

   How to make a phone call from Cuba to another country:

   • Dial 119
   • Dial the Country Code (Canada: 1, USA: 1, UK: 44, Spain: 34, France: 33, Germany: 49, Argentina: 54, etc.)
   • Dial the Phone Number (including the area code)

   How to make a phone call to a LANDLINE in Varadero from another country:

   • Dial your country's Exit Code for international calls (Canada/USA:011, Italy:00, UK:00, Spain:00, Germany:00, etc.)
   • Dial 53 (Country code for Cuba)
   • Dial 45 (Regional code for Varadero and Matanzas Province)
   • Dial Phone Number

   How to make a phone call to a CELLPHONE in Cuba from another country:

   • Dial your country's Exit Code for international calls (Canada/USA:011, Italy:00, UK:00, Spain:00, Germany:00, etc.)
   • Dial 53 (Country code for Cuba)
   • Dial the Cellphone Number (8 digits always starting by 5)

LOCAL CALLS WITHIN CUBA :

   From a LANDLINE to another LANDLINE:

   • Within the same area code, dial : Phone Number
   • To make a long-distance call, dial: 0 + Area Code + Phone Number

   From a LANDLINE to a CELLPHONE:

   • Dial 01 (01 is the code for all provinces in Cuba except for the city of Havana, if calling from Havana City the code is 0)
   • Dial the Cellphone Number (8 digits always starting by 5)

   From a CELLPHONE to a LANDLINE:
   (It is no longer required to dial 0 since October 2013)

   • Dial the Area Code (see list on the left)
   • Dial the Phone Number

   From a CELLPHONE to another CELLPHONE:

   • Dial the Cellphone Number (including 5 which is the first digit of every Cuban cellphone number)

Lily & Normand
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