Cell phones in Afghanistan?

The major bases have Roshan and another cell phone carrier (I forget the name) on base selling cards to recharge minutes on your phone. You can purchase a phone online prior to deployment but if you wait you can get one on base or purchase one from someone that is redeploying to the States.

Also, the major bases have internet in rooms so you can use IM.

DSN is a last resort as you will need to use an office phone.

If you know a unit is going to a remote location, your FRG can hold a fundraiser to purchase a SATCOM internet system for the unit.
If you have an unlocked blackberry or jailbroken iphone you can just put the Roshan SIM card and go.

You can basically use any generic phone that uses a SIM card and itll work fine. You can buy prepaid units to recharge your minutes online also.

also heres a crazy one if you have a blackberry. have verizon unlock it for you and get the international email plan. although it doesnt state that its not suposed to be used for data it basically lets you use data reliant apps, read: facebook.
Roshan is WAAAY to expensive, like others said, switch to verizon and get the international data plans, way better, think middle of nowhere, still able to use your phone to e-mail and browse news and use text applications... Do it now before you go... Don't wait until you get there.
quote:
Originally posted by LBeezy:
Roshan is WAAAY to expensive, like others said, switch to verizon and get the international data plans, way better, think middle of nowhere, still able to use your phone to e-mail and browse news and use text applications... Do it now before you go... Don't wait until you get there.


We already have Verizon...will our own cell phones work? We just have to switch to the international plan?
quote:
Originally posted by ArmyWife~N~Soldier:
quote:
Originally posted by LBeezy:
Roshan is WAAAY to expensive, like others said, switch to verizon and get the international data plans, way better, think middle of nowhere, still able to use your phone to e-mail and browse news and use text applications... Do it now before you go... Don't wait until you get there.


We already have Verizon...will our own cell phones work? We just have to switch to the international plan?


Since I'm assuming that you will want to talk to your husband, who will also be in country, just use Roshan or AWCC or MTN or whichever carrier gets the best reception at your FOB. Chances are you are headed out the area that I'm in right now.

There is no reason to keep an international plan to call your husband. You will end up paying 2-3$ a minute as opposed to 10-12 Afghani per minute. To give you comparison, a 500 afghani roshan recharge card runs about 9-11$ depending on who you get it from. There are different plans available if you talk to one of the terps who can sign you up for one of the plans that will make it cheaper.
Gotta think about calling the family back home too. Depending on ROSHAN gets way to expensive.

I suggested international DATA plan so you can e-mail, browse news, use internet based apps for a set fee per month ( around 60-70 bucks ). Do your casual talking via e-mail or instant messanger on your verizon phone.

Both you and your husband aquire or purchase a cheap Roshan phone. Trade phone numbers, buy a card like 51C said but don't rely on that... IT's WAAAY to expensive to make casual calls, save it for emergencies.

Here's the catch.. The calls you RECIEVE to your roshan phone are free for you, they don't spend your minutes. You can have a balance of 0 on an active account and recieve phone calls from others using SKYPE.

Maybe your and or your husbands FOB, SP, or w/e type of base your on will get a little MWR set up, you might even be on a big base like KAF or BAF or Mike Spann and get WiFi service for 90 dollars a month. On which you can rely on for casual phone calls and entertainment.

Since you already have Verizon, you can always take the data plan, and once you get a MWR or find out you have WiFi access you can cancel it and go back to your normal plan on military suspension.
Beezy remember she will be calling her husband who will also have a phone down there. I had Roshan when I was in Afghanistan which sucked calling back to the states as a $20 card would only give me like 30 minutes. But once we got the SPAWAR phones in the FOB I only used it to comunicate with budies around country and it was basically like any other prepaid phones here in the states.
The Verizon thing is def the way to go, esp with the data plan.

Additionally if you have a Black Berry, your Black Berry Messenger (BBM, BB specific text messaging like function) will work and wont cost anything beyond the plan.

Using this, email, and facebook will allow you both to communicate and talk to each other without having to spend major bucks. However if you two are the types that want to hear each other breathe over the phone, it will definitely get expensive.
you could also get with your commo rep to see if they can't setup an "mwr" dsn line somewhere usually in the chaplins office, we did that on my last deployment and people loved it, the privacy it offered was nice.

also skype is free computer to computer, or if you get a local cell phone and have your spouse activate the paid version of skype they will be able to call your local phone (free for you(usually)) this is how i stay in contact with my family it might work for you
My thoughts-

FIND OUT NOW from someone who is actually there if cell service is crappy or not. Some places are fine, others have none to nada for reception.

You can just get a SIM card for blackberry, jailbroken iPhone, whatever, for the Roshan or AWCC service.

We tried Bently Walker, to me totally not worth it. It's "TDMA" (splits the frequency to use across multiple dishes)- during "peak hours" (4pm to 11pm) it's almost unusable. Skype didn't work with video except for 3am(local). This was with the expensive package- 15 people each paying $90/month.

Look up "DSN Directory"- you can find FREE numbers to call from DSN to the states. (As long as who you're trying to dial someone near a military installation.)
--Any base you go to they should be able to setup a DSN phone for morale calls...
Heres what I would do since you both will be deploying to the same area.

1.Get blackberry international data plan. (set fee for unlimited data)

2. Have carrier unlock both phones before deploying.

3. When you get to your base purchase roshan sim cards or whatever carrier sim you choose.

4. Roshan to Roshan calling is overpriced/cheap depending who you ask. But, since you have blackberry plan you guys now have Black berry messenger. I would just use the BBM and if you two want to call each other cheaply have whoever is on a base near a dsn line call your roshan, if you dont want to use your units.

5. What I described above is being able to stay connected to your loved one. Remember that there are other soldiers out there who go weeks at a time without access to computers or phones.

______

There is a few numbers floating around out there that allow your family in the states to dial a toll free number followed by prompts and then finally a persons roshan number. The number I had has been disconnected but it worked and there were no charges. read: free calls from your family to your roshan phone
quote:
Originally posted by letmegetthatforyou:
Heres what I would do since you both will be deploying to the same area.

1.Get blackberry international data plan. (set fee for unlimited data)

2. Have carrier unlock both phones before deploying.

3. When you get to your base purchase roshan sim cards or whatever carrier sim you choose.

4. Roshan to Roshan calling is overpriced/cheap depending who you ask. But, since you have blackberry plan you guys now have Black berry messenger. I would just use the BBM and if you two want to call each other cheaply have whoever is on a base near a dsn line call your roshan, if you dont want to use your units.

5. What I described above is being able to stay connected to your loved one. Remember that there are other soldiers out there who go weeks at a time without access to computers or phones.

______

There is a few numbers floating around out there that allow your family in the states to dial a toll free number followed by prompts and then finally a persons roshan number. The number I had has been disconnected but it worked and there were no charges. read: free calls from your family to your roshan phone


Thank you, everyone actually, for all of the advice. I am going to go into Verizon and ask if I can do the international plan. We don't have blackberries, so I'm not sure if that plan will work or not? Also, we aren't going to the same area, just the same country. He will be 600 miles away Frowner If we were able to text, that would be enough. I am able to do the PDA Net thing w/my cell (tethering; using the cell phone as a modem) so I'm thinking as long as the phone is getting internet over there, I will have it on my computer. I'm going to ask them that too. Thanks again to everyone for the ideas.
quote:
Originally posted by ArmyWife~N~Soldier:
Thank you, everyone actually, for all of the advice. I am going to go into Verizon and ask if I can do the international plan. We don't have blackberries, so I'm not sure if that plan will work or not? Also, we aren't going to the same area, just the same country. He will be 600 miles away Frowner If we were able to text, that would be enough. I am able to do the PDA Net thing w/my cell (tethering; using the cell phone as a modem) so I'm thinking as long as the phone is getting internet over there, I will have it on my computer. I'm going to ask them that too. Thanks again to everyone for the ideas.


Might be cheapest to text to just get SIMs (or phones) in the country you're going to. (instead of using international services.)

-Same with using data, getting a local SIM and paying for it might be cheaper than keeping service from the US. And it will be SLOW.
quote:
Originally posted by Gabe26R:
Roshan isn't to bad if you buy more units online. Just go on google and search like roshan or whatever and you'll find its alot cheaper because you can buy in bulk.


I recently returned from deployment and you have two options as far as recharging online and i used them both.

https://www.etopuponline.com/roshan/

http://www.ezetop.com/

I recommend ETOPUPONLINE because they do not charge you anything to recharge online, i would also tell you that their is a way to make Roshan cheaper. Unfortunately i figured this out almost at the end of the deployment, but here is what i did:

I went and talked to one of the Language assistant and asked him to set my phone so i can have favorite numbers which gives you a better rate, the only caveat is that you can only put one international number which in this case might be yours. If you husband is able to do that it will cost you about 10 Afghans a minute or text with a initial daily charge of 10 Afghans. 10 Afghans is approximately 25 cents US, so it might be another option that you and your husband might want to consider as far as cellphones in Afghanistan. One last thing they also have Internet sticks that are a little pricey depending on where you get them and the service is about 25-50 US dollars a month and i have used it to Skype with my wife several times but is not the most defendant.
roshan is the most popular, but i use Etisalat. I get unlimited data usage on my iphone 4 with them for less than 20 us a month. It works good enough for skype,(no video) and other apps. If you have an att iphone, jailbreak it and unlock it before you deploy. They can do it out here, but it cost me 130.
Just wanted to bump this to say I am traveling to the southern area. I have an unlocked iPhone 4S for international through Verizon.

I am trying to decide what to use.

Should I just get a local sim card and sim card cutter and use Roshan, or use the Verizon plan?

Unfortunately the WiFi doesn't reach my company CP. Mainly I'm looking for data fast enough to iMessage and email, that's it.

I have a DSN line in my office, so phone calls I can either make from that or back in my room over Facetime or Skype.
quote:
Originally posted by MICO 1SG:
Just wanted to bump this to say I am traveling to the southern area. I have an unlocked iPhone 4S for international through Verizon.

I am trying to decide what to use.

Should I just get a local sim card and sim card cutter and use Roshan, or use the Verizon plan?

Unfortunately the WiFi doesn't reach my company CP. Mainly I'm looking for data fast enough to iMessage and email, that's it.

I have a DSN line in my office, so phone calls I can either make from that or back in my room over Facetime or Skype.


I just came back from Afghanistan two weeks ago and brought my iPhone with me that had an AT&T contract. Deployed Soldiers are allowed to suspend their AT&T contracts and to have their iPhones unlocked. It took some reps to talk to because not all of them were tracking.

Some FOBs use a local ISP like Sniper Hill or IO Global. I saw the Topup website but it wanted you to register with a credit card and I was not so trusting of that website regardless if it is HTTPS. I went to the local haji shop and brought a SIM with internet connectivity which costs me 40 bucks a month (AWCC). With that, I had unlimited DATA and was able to use the APP (viber) to call my wife and it worked fine. Many FOBs may have wi-fi free which I had at the USO and at some air terminals that had wi-fi free. Also, there is always a DSN that provide morale calls. Your command should get that info for you but you could google that or find out what is the DSN to your base operator that will transfer you to your local area code for free.
quote:
Originally posted by MICO 1SG:
Where were you in Afghanistan? We have Sniper Hill on our FOB from what I hear. But it won't reach to my office or something.

So you could get unlimited data? My Verizon phone is already unlocked


I was in RC-East in BAF and JAF and moved around all along the Pakistani border (e.g. Bostick, Wright).

Sniper Hill worked great on JAF-Fenty (were I was based) since they had many point to point deployed and with a signal booster, you will able to receive a signsl from your work area.
quote:
Originally posted by letmegetthatforyou:
Heres what I would do since you both will be deploying to the same area.

1.Get blackberry international data plan. (set fee for unlimited data)

2. Have carrier unlock both phones before deploying.

3. When you get to your base purchase roshan sim cards or whatever carrier sim you choose.

4. Roshan to Roshan calling is overpriced/cheap depending who you ask. But, since you have blackberry plan you guys now have Black berry messenger. I would just use the BBM and if you two want to call each other cheaply have whoever is on a base near a dsn line call your roshan, if you dont want to use your units.

5. What I described above is being able to stay connected to your loved one. Remember that there are other soldiers out there who go weeks at a time without access to computers or phones.

______

There is a few numbers floating around out there that allow your family in the states to dial a toll free number followed by prompts and then finally a persons roshan number. The number I had has been disconnected but it worked and there were no charges. read: free calls from your family to your roshan phone


This is a good idea. Get a mobile phone unlocked and use it with the local SIM in the country you are. A mobile phone can be unlocked safer and easier using unlock code. An unlock code for a mobile phone can be obtained from onlinegsmunlock.com at affordable cost with easy unlocking guide.

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