Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cellphone Service Thomas Alva Edison Would Recognize

Yoani Sanchez Award-Winning Cuban Blogger
Posted: August 24, 2010 02:41 AM

Cellphone Service Thomas Alva Edison Would Recognize
What's Your Reaction:

My cellphone rings but I don't answer. I wait for the ringing to stop
and go to a nearby phone to call the number shown on the screen. I've
warned my friends that I'll let a call go and call them back later, but
some insist, forgetting about the high cost of a minute of conversation
on the cell network. I have a code with them: two rings if it's urgent
and three if it's about something that can wait. When I'm in the street
and the device I carry in my purse vibrates, I look for a public phone
that takes coins and doesn't have the handset ripped off.

Although the telecommunications company ETESCA reported that the number
of cell phone users will soon surpass one million, we remain handicapped
with regards to this technology. To receive a domestic call is madness,
configuring the texting can take hours of fighting with the operators,
and finding a place that sells recharge cards is like the movie Mission
Impossible. Like a teenager whose growing feet no longer fit in his
shoes, our cellphone system has increased the number of subscribers but
without the corresponding improvement in infrastructure. Well, the
growth doesn't follow an integrated development of the system, but is
led by the desire to collect -- at all costs -- those colored
convertible notes that simulate the dollar.

Despite recent reductions in the high rates, even a doctor can't afford
cellphone service, but the political police enjoy subsidized rates which
they can pay in national currency. Nor is it possible to open an account
and pay at the end of the month, we have to pay in advance to be able to
communicate. Many of us feel defrauded by ETESCA, but the State monopoly
doesn't allow other competitors to offer us better and cheaper service.
Meanwhile a solution appears, thousands of users work out a strange
Morse code with cellphones: One ring, two, three... Don't answer on the
other end! Just run to the nearest phone.


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