For the first time, average Cubans are now able to sign up for internet service for their mobile phones Thursday, a development long awaited on the communist-ruled island.

Users began receiving text messages Thursday morning from the state telephone monopoly informing them that they can buy an internet access packages for 3G service.

Previously, nearly all Cubans could use their mobiles only to get their state-run email accounts unless they connected to the internet at a limited number of government-sponsored Wi-Fi spots. Government officials and foreign businesspeople could use their mobiles anywhere to access the 3G network.

The new service is being made available gradually through Saturday depending on a user's phone number, to avoid the congestion that struck Cuba's mobile network during a series of criticized tests this year.

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