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Cuba's cell phone network crashes from overload of Valentine's calls

posted 15 Feb 2012, 10:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 15 Feb 2012, 10:54 ]

Romantic Cubans send communication network all aflutter after bombarding network with loving calls.

HAVANA, CUBA (FEBRUARY 15, 2012) (REUTERS) - Mobile phones stopped working in Cuba on Tuesday (February 14), due to congestion allegedly caused by the overflow of Valentine's calls and text messages.

From around midday, it became impossible to communicate via cell phone, while text messages started arriving late or not at all.

Housewife Ailyn Diza was among those affected.

"Nothing, I had no communication whatsoever. I do not know if it was because yesterday was Valentine's Day, I don't know, I don't know. Yesterday was a day for lovers, based on St. Valentine's. And no, there was nothing [in the way of communication]. We were speechless," said Diza.

So far there has been no official information released on the possible causes of the incident.

The service hotline of the state telecommunications company ETECSA informed users that there was "congestion" due to excessive calls.

Public health worker Luis Jimenez believed this was a result of the date.

"Yesterday was Valentine's Day. Everyone just called their loved ones at the same time and so the lines got congested. I guess that's it," said Jimenez.

Valentine's Day in Cuba is known as the Day of Lovers, with many also using the event to celebrate friendship and family ties.

Julio Cesar Martinez, unemployed, said phone company Cubacel reported service problems.

"From the private address (of an ETECSA office), CUBACEL reported that there was a drop in service," said Martinez.

There are more than one million mobile phones users in Cuba, within the population of some 11 million people. ETECSA recently encouraged more sign-ups by lowering prices on a service that was prohibitively expensive for many years.