Challenge: Simplify and support global voice communication to Cuba
Solution: In-App Voice Calling from Sinch for seamless and cost-efficient conversations
Results: Internet-free global voice calling capabilities via the one-stop Cuba Messenger shop
minutes of calls per day
of people in Cuba use the app
Canada-based CubaMessenger started when founder Yuniesky Aleman left Cuba for Ecuador in 2009. His search for a cost-effective way to keep in touch with friends and family in Cuba was a tall order – a personal mission that needed a little help from the experts to succeed.
Challenge: Building cost-effective connections
Talking with friends and family is something many people take for granted. Pick up the phone, dial the number, and off you go. But it’s not that easy for everyone, especially if your friends and family live in Cuba. Calling Cuba is often subscription-based and always crazy expensive. So expensive that everyday people just can’t afford it.
Yuniesky started CubaMessenger after realizing that calling home to check in would be challenging due to limited internet access and poor connections in Cuba. He spotted an opportunity to help people outside of Cuba reach loved ones and jumped into it head-first.
CubaMessenger started with 2-way SMS, but by 2015 people wanted more. They wanted something personal. They wanted to talk to each other.
Yuniesky explains, “We needed to branch out into voice because our SMS clients were asking for it even though they did not have internet service or access.”
The challenge? Seeking a partner to help make low-cost international voice calling without an internet connection a reality.
Solution: Connecting friends and family across the miles
The telecoms market in Cuba is unpredictable and constantly changing, so CubaMessenger had its work cut out. In 2015 there was no internet in Cuba, so CubaMessenger took the time to improve its SMS offering while also scouting for non-internet-based calling solutions.
Yuniesky comments, “When we found Sinch, we were very impressed. They were so quick to respond, and it was such a positive experience - we knew we’d found the best partner to work with.”
Time spent polishing the SMS side of its business and planning its voice-calling strategy was certainly worthwhile, because, in 2017, right about the time CubaMessenger found Sinch, internet became available in Cuba. It was limited, but it had arrived, which meant CubaMessenger could spring into action.
Working with Sinch, CubaMessenger adapted its now-famous SMS app to include in-app voice calling and became a one-stop messaging and voice calling shop.
Its no-subscription or sign-up fee, pay-as-you-go model has “satisfied the needs of the Cuban people who didn’t need internet to make or receive calls,” explains Yuniesky. “People outside Cuba call the app to the phone network in Cuba, and they’re instantly connected.”
Results: Success and looking to the future
On working with Sinch, Yuniesky commented, “I was very impressed with the customer service and integration support from Sinch – our challenges have been greatly reduced as a result of their efforts.”
3 million people now use the app from the U.S., Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, and Spain to call Cuba – “it’s been a huge success!” comments Yuniesky.
With 9,000 minutes of calls daily running through the app, CubaMessenger is keen to stay on top of any issues, and with Sinch, they feel secure. “It’s good to know that Sinch is there to help us if we have any problems – we definitely feel the commitment,” says Yuniesky.