Verizon's direct connection deal with Etecsa underscores U.S. carriers' interest in Cuba

Verizon inked a direct connection agreement with Cuba's government-run telecommunications carrier Etecsa, Reuters reported, illustrating how eager U.S. carriers are to expand to a market that was off limits until recently. The deal will allow voice services to connect directly between the two countries once the technical testing requirements are completed, Etecsa said, eliminating the need for third-party networks that can be costly and reduce quality.

Verizon last fall became the first U.S. operator to offer roaming in Cuba, and Sprint followed two months later when it signed the first direct roaming agreement with Etecsa. AT&T is said to be negotiating a deal with Etecsa as well. While the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba remains, the Obama administration developed regulations last year allowing American telecoms to do business with Cuba. U.S. operators clearly see opportunities on the island where the telecom infrastructure lags behind much of the rest of the world. Article