Verizon announced plans Thursday to offer roaming in Cuba from next week, making it the first U.S. cellphone network to offer the service. The service won't come cheap, however. Verizon will charge $2.05 per megabyte and $2.99 per minute of voice calling to customers roaming on the pay-as-you-go international travel option.
"By offering international services while traveling in Cuba, we are making it simple and easy for our customers to stay connected wherever and whenever they choose," said Javier Farfan, vice president of cultural and segment marketing for Verizon.
But before customers start packing their bags and signing up to Verizon, T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling service, which routes phone calls over a Wi-Fi connection when enabled, may be a better choice. The service will use the monthly minutes on a calling plan when placing calls from abroad to U.S. numbers. Wi-Fi calling also provides free SMS and MMS messaging, as well as free incoming calls. The company has confirmed to IBTimes that Wi-Fi calling works for customers while in Cuba.
Nonetheless, the news of Verizon's expansion has been well-received to those who travel between the U.S. and Cuba regularly. Mimi Whitefield, Cuba and international correspondent at the Miami Herald, already tweeted that she will be using the service.
@CubaJournal Just signed up for the new Verizon Cuba roaming service. We'll see how it works.
— Mimi Whitefield (@HeraldMimi) September 17, 2015
Wi-Fi calling currently works on a select few phones and has the obvious caveat of requiring a Wi-Fi connection to function. But at a cost of nearly $90 for a half hour phone call on Verizon's offering, Americans looking to take advantage of the relaxed rules surrounding travel may be better off with T-Mobile.