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  • Cuban man checks his phone at home in quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic. April 7, 2020. Havana, Cuba.

    Cuban man checks his phone at home in quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic. April 7, 2020. Havana, Cuba. | Photo: EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa

Published 21 August 2020
Opinion

An interview with Julio Antonio Garcia Trapaga, director of e-commerce at the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), reveals increasing use of this digital service as part of the ongoing process of computerization of Cuban society. 

Central to this strategy is the Transfermovil application, installed on almost one million mobile devices in Cuba, which allows users to pay phone and electricity bills, make online purchases, transfer money, and more on their cell phones.

Despite inconsistent connection and high prices, internet access in Cuba has become widespread in recent years, with public Wi-Fi parks, mobile data packages, home service plans, and lowered usage fees contributing to a more connected and digital Cuban society. 

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Earlier this month, ETECSA announced new features of Transfermovil, including paying for home internet usage with foreign currency, filing taxes for self-employed workers, and ordering debit cards online, among other services. 

Able to use the application offline, Cubans have taken advantage of Transfermovil during the Covid-19 pandemic to order groceries, send packages and pay for internet at youth centers, now enjoying over 30 everyday services through the application. 

While continued and increased usage has presented technical and network congestion issues, leading to regular site maintenance, Transfermovil continues to grow and improve its operations, including discounts for online payments, the goal to improve Cubans' quality of life.

 

Having doubled the numbers of users on the platform since the end of 2019, Transfermovil has also played an indispensable role in the fight against Covid-19, allowing users to avoid long lines and agglomerations, and instead, take care of business from the comfort of their own homes. 

Upcoming plans for the application include developing a digital wallet and broadening and improving existing services, the aim to contribute to Cuba's economic development by integrating online payment options with any and all electronic platforms that provide public services to the Cuban people.

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