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Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Ottawa, Canada
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Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Hello All:

We are planning our first ever trip Cuba and have come to realize that Internet access is shoddy at best when its available for 5-10 CUC per hour and long distance calls are expensive as well.

Instead of renting a sim card their, I am thinking of using my cell providers (Telus or Virgin/Bell) international roaming plan since I get 50% off on the plan it will probably be cheaper.

My question is has anyone done this and if they did was it business as usual when making voice calls and text messaging?

What sort of data speed you were able to get on Cuban networks? I am planning to tether from my smartphone to my tablet.

Thanks!

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Hi there,

Do yourself a favour and leave your cell at home. Rates charged by Cuban cell companies are outrageous and these rates get passed along to your provider, no matter who that provider is. The Cuban government refuses to work with international cell companies to negotiate better rates. Your provider in turn has to pass this along to you. I'm with Rogers and last year, I foolishly attempted to upgrade an application on my Blackberry while on vacation in Cayo Coco. It was painfully slow and I paid for it dearly, although Rogers did cut me some slack for being a good customer. If you must use your cell, stick to a few necessary text messages and that's it. Rogers charges .75 each for text messages and there are NO international plans for Cuba. Live without it for a week! There are a few scattered resorts with Wi-Fi but which ones...I'm not sure. Hope this helps but PM me if you want more details.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Camaguey, Cuba
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11,293 posts
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2. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

" The Cuban government refuses to work with international cell companies to negotiate better rates. "

I'm sure you meant, instead of what you wrote, that Americans companies cannot make any deals or business at all with Cuba because of the embargo imposed on Cuba by the US.

"there are NO international plans for Cuba."

Not accurate, there are some plans offered right now.

To the OP, you need to contact your provider to ask for the exact rate they will charge you. But one thing imjools is right about is that data will cost you a lot if you use it in Cuba. And Skype, Facetime and others like that don't work in Cuba, so don't plan on using your data to make inexpensive phone calls. Text is the least expensive options to stay in touch.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Thank you to you both for responding.

I did contact Telus and found that they have various plans available for Cuba (also known as Cuba Travel Pack). These plans seem to offer a good value for myself.

You can find the details here:

www.telus.com/mobility/travel/index.jsp…

I guess what I am trying to figure out is if someone has used these travel packs (by Telus) and what sort of data speed they could get.

Thanks.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Camaguey, Cuba
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11,293 posts
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4. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

The speed of data in Cuba is not great. It's not as bad as it used to be, but don't expect something as fast as here.

I still don't see how the data would be better than the wifi though.

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Thanks Gengen. I can get the following plan from Telus for $50:

300 minutes

300 MB of data

Unlimited outgoing text messages

Free incoming text messages

Difference between data and WiFi would have been that while I am traveling I could use it.

Thanks again.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Camaguey, Cuba
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11,293 posts
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6. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

I am really, really surprise that you can get 300 minutes of talking in Cuba, plus the rest, for 50$. You should jump on that plan, because they will remove it really, really fast. They will be losing a lot of money on that plan, if only because Etecsa (the Cuban phone company) will charge them a lot more than 50$ for 300 minutes of talking...

7. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

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8. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

When are you headed to Cuba? I'll be there next month and plan on getting the same Travel Pack from Telus, I'm not sure where everyone is getting their information from but there certainly are packs available and I don't see any reason why telus would suddenly pull them. Another good thing to know is that it's no longer possible for the carrier to charge you more than $100 in data roaming fees while travelling, as per guidelines imposed by the CRTC. So while they used to be able to let your bill ring up like crazy due to data roaming, thankfully there is a limit now. This means that if your usage amounts to $100 in overages they are required to shut it off unless you have expressly consented to the additional charges.

If I return before your trip, I'll be sure to update you on how my phone service and data was while I was there!

Source: I sell cell phones.

Fredericton, Canada
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9. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

Samantha has the same information I am receiving from Rogers, just did not realize it had already started. To the original poster I would recommend you verify with Telus roaming charges, otherwise you could really get hit, this includes charges relating to someone sending you a message on Facebook. I turn off data completely and rely on texting only.

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Anyone used their Canadian Cell for data in Cuba

imjools @ #1.... 100% wrong.

Cheers,

Terry