IDT Corporation, the largest US-based provider of international long distance calling, has reached an agreement with Cuba's ETECSA telecom company to provide phone service between the two countries as they normalize relations.
The Cuban company, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A., said in a statement Friday that the deal enables "the reestablishment of direct communication between the United States and Cuba."
It "will allow for better capabilities and improved communication quality between the people of both nations," added the statement, published in state-run Granma.
The head of IDT hailed the deal as "groundbreaking."
"This is an important first step in the liberalization of telecommunications between the US and Cuba," said IDT CEO Bill Pereira in a statement Thursday.
"The agreement will help make it easier and more affordable for our customers to call friends and family in Cuba."
IDT said the agreement was filed this week with the US Federal Communications Commission and is subject to FCC review for a period of 10 days.
If the deal is approved, IDT will be the only US carrier to have a direct interconnection into Cuba, the American company said.
In December, US President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro announced their two nations would begin normalizing ties, ending a half-century of enmity between the former Cold War foes.