Thanks to policy support, the sector of telecommunications services has been booming and diversified in recent years in Cuba, industry leaders said.
Directors of state-run telecom Empresa de Telecomunicaciones S.A. (ETECSA) said Thursday on TV show that the sector has seen an average annual growth of 20 percent since 2008, spurred by a government policy to modernize the island nation's aging economic model.
There are currently more than 2.9 million telephone lines in Cuba, including both land-lines and mobile phones, according to the company. The number is expected to reach 3 million by the end of 2013.
Tania Velazquez, ETECSA's marketing and commercial director, told the TV show that 25.8 percent of Cuba's 11.2 million inhabitants have telephone access.
Velazquez said investment in the sector in recent years has focused on building or renovating the infrastructure for the digitalization of the system, which is already at 98 percent, expanding cell phone services and upgrading technologies.
But the investment, she said, is complicated by the U.S.-led decades-long economic embargo against Cuba, which has forced the country to look for parts, equipment and accessories through intermediaries in third countries. That raises prices and slows down the process.
Director of land-lines Luis Iglesias said his area has more than 1.221 million lines in both public and private sectors, and each year another 30,000 new lines are added.
Meanwhile, Cuba's mobile telephone service counts 1.750 million lines, or 62 percent of the country's capacity, and is expected to reach 2 million by the end of the year.
As for the Internet, ETECSA's Jorge Legra said that 11,000 new users have registered since around 118 state-run Internet spaces throughout the country were opened on June 4.
Cuba operates more than 30,000 Internet access points with a total of 1.7 million users. ETECSA plans to include Wi-Fi service and Internet access on mobile phone services.