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First cell sales in Cuba Richard Seynfield | , 12:29 p.m. April 16, 2008 2008-04-16

On Monday started in Cuba the first officially approved cell roll-outs ever. From now on it will be legal for anyone to buy a cellular phone - if he pulls the money together. But even though the cheapest model available costs about 4 months salary, the demand for this new liberty was still overwhelming.

The new modifications are part of the recent regime changes since Raúl Castro took charge in February. Thus shortly after did he now gave his approval to publicly sell mobile phones on Cuba as well. Before that, only foreigners and high government officials were allowed to use cell phones.

Cuban officials further announced a drop of the formerly active prohibition to sell computers, tv stations and some other electronic devices. Those prohibitions got initially into act when Cuba had to face a severe energy shortage in 2003.

Many see these new changes as one step towards broadened consumer liberties. As such the image of mass runs on electronics stores have became more and more com,on - regardless of the fact that many people cannot even afford any of their newly gained options.

The prices for the devices and calling charges are still enormously high. All currently available models cost between 65 and 290 US dollar. Another 120 US-$ are being charged during the registration for your number. Phone cards are available for 11, 21 or 42$ each. So those to pick the cheapest version will still have to pay 196$ in total, while the average monthly Cuban salary lies around 17$.

But regardless of it's overall non-affordability for most, it still marks a significant milestone towards the ultimate goal to end all economic limitations imposed upon the Caribbean Island.

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