US mobile operator Verizon Communications has signed a direct interconnection agreement with Cuba’s state-owned incumbent ETECSA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba). The services will come into play after both companies have completed technical tests.
US mobile operator Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) has signed a direct interconnection agreement with Cuba’s state-owned incumbent ETECSA (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba).
ETECSA said in a statement that it has inked a deal with Verizon subsidiary Verizon Partner Solutions which will initially enable voice services through direct interconnection between the US and Cuba. The services will come into play after both companies have completed technical tests, it added.
Last September, Verizon announced it had become the first US mobile operator to offer roaming in Cuba with its pay-as-you-go international travel option. The following month, smaller rival Sprint inked a direct roaming agreement with ETECSA.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that AT&T, the US’ largest telco, was one of at least three US companies expected to aim to seal deals with Cuban state-run entities ahead of President Barack Obama’s historic trip to the island later this month.
AT&T may ink a roaming agreement with ETECSA, the report stated. The telco has declined to comment.
Relations between the US and Cuba have begun to thaw since December 2014 when their governments announced that they would move to restore ties.
In January, the FCC removed Cuba from its ‘exclusion list’, saying this “opens the door for US telecom carriers to provide facilities-based telephone and internet services to Cuba without separate approval from the commission”.
The US reopened its embassy in Havana last August after more than half a century. The Obama administration is expected to announce additional measures to loosen trade and travel restrictions between the two countries ahead Obama’s arrival in Havana on 20 March.