Is Cuba the land of opportunity for US telecoms companies?

In December 2014 US president Barack Obama normalised the relationship between the US and Cuba, opening the way for US telecoms companies to do business with and in Cuba. In March a US delegation of high-level telecoms officials visited Cuba’s capital Havana to discuss new regulations and modifications to the US trade embargo on Cuba to allow the export of communication devices, hardware and software from the US to Cuba.

In March Cuba’s state owned telecoms company ETECSA signed a deal with US company IDT Corp to bring a direct telephone calling service to and from the US and Cuba for the first time since 1999.Google and T-Mobile have already shown interest in getting into Cuba’s telecoms and internet services but Cuba wont be handing all telecoms and internet business to the US and in May it was announced that China’s Huawei were in advanced talks with Cuba over providing telecoms services in Cuba.

If the US internet and telecoms giants enter Cuba will there be anything left for entrepreneurs? One such entrepreneur hoping so is Luis G. Costello, a Cuban who has lived in Miami since the 1960's and founder and CEO of CubaMobile who has launched several attempts to operate in Cuba in the last 25 years.

Coello first developed phone cards in 1990 to allow people in the US to call Cuba. In 1994 he was granted licenses to provide satellite calls from the US to Cuba and in 2009 backed by AT&T and Verizon he gained permission to build an undersea fibre optic cable between Florida and Havana, but the Cuban government then decided to lay a cable to Venezuela instead.

Before US telecoms and Technology Company’s flock to Cuba transparent regulatory laws need to be implemented along with guaranteed protection for investments made in Cuba.

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