Just days after the Wall Street Journal reported AT&T is looking to get its foot in the door with a roaming deal in Cuba, the country’s state-run telecommunications company has announced a new partnership with Verizon.
The Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) said Monday it has signed a direct interconnection agreement with Verizon for the exchange of wireline voice traffic between Cuba and the United States.
Though the direct agreement is now in place, ETECSA said both operators will need to conduct a series of technical tests before the service becomes available.
The move follows up Verizon’s play last September to become the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer wireless roaming in Cuba. That deal, however, makes the connection through third party carriers.
But Verizon isn’t the first to come to a direct connection agreement with ETECSA.
In November, Sprint signed the first direct roaming agreement and long-distance interconnection agreement with the Cuban telecommunications agency. At the time, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said the goal was to make sure Sprint customers could readily use their phones in Cuba as U.S. relations with the country continue to thaw and tourism increases.
Under its agreement with ETECSA, Sprint is offering roaming rates of $2.49 per minute for voice calls, $1.99 per megabyte of data and 50 cents to send SMS text messages. SMS messages can be received for free.
Verizon’s wireless roaming service in Cuba currently comes at a cost of $2.99 per minute for voice calls and $2.05 per megabyte of data. The carrier has not yet said if these rates will change under the new agreement.