Mobiles in Afghan

Discussion in 'Afghanistan' started by freedomman, May 14, 2010.

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  1. Something else caught my eye on Kit Up

    iPhone compatibility with local Aghan sim cards

    iPhone in the Zone: Yes We Can!
    by christian on May 12, 2010 · Comments (8)

    One of the most ubiquitous pieces of kit we’ve seen here so far — of the personal kind, that is — are cell phones. Everyone’s got them at the bigger FOBs since there’s pretty good cell coverage near the major cities. What a revolution in connectivity when you’re deployed for a year…you can talk to loved ones every day if you want. It’s a long way from the snail mail only comms of just 20 years ago.

    Sure there are tons of basic cells clasped in the troops’ hands. But there are also some iPhones here and there sprinkled in with the Motorolas and T-Mobiles — including yours truly.

    The key is to get a sim card linked to the local network so your calls are cheap (free if you receive a call) or to just buy a local cell phone altogether. But how to get around the notoriously draconian rules governing the use of iPhones and its sealed system?

    I chatted with a young Sailor assigned to ISAF HQ in Kabul who was waiting in the pax terminal to deliver some radios to a unit in Bagram about this issue since he was sporting an iPhone. He said that he just used a jail break program to open up his iPhone to other networks and swapped out the AT&T card with a local Roshan network one. He assured me the card swap didn’t mess up the phone and that a menacing mug of Steve Jobs didn’t auto launch on his desktop when he tried to sync telling him he was a bad boy and nuking his phone to smithereens.

    I know this may sound obvious, but some might be reasonably worried about tinkering with their beloved iPhones and swapping in a very foreign sim card to make cheaper calls. Well this guy says it’s no sweat at all and that when you replace your old AT&T card, all it does is restore the phone to factory fresh (you gotta re-install the playlists, movies and apps).

    So for all you deployers out there thinking of leaving home your iPhone and doing without your SISiPhone shot timer or Knights Armament Bullet Flight app in The Box, think again. You can bring the Apple wunderfon with you and still get a daily sitrep from CINC House while you’re calculating how fast you can make those 700 meter shots.

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    Given the justifiably apoplectic reactions on here recently when some poor sod asked "What phone should I take to Afghan?", why are the Septics unconcerned about Opsec?

    Are other ISAF members bothered either way?
  2. Wait until REMFQuestions sees this thread.
  3. the terry are listerning in and tracing your calls!!!!!

    it's true i herd it on the news :D
  4. I'm not sure whether this reflects a lack of official concern or a lack of individual appreciation of the official persec (as opposed to opsec) line.

    Some other ISAF members have the same restrictions we do.
  5. All the other ISAF countries use mobiles in theatre. Indeed the US dont have any direction to their troops on cell phones, so most of them brign their own from home.

    All the contracters use local ROSHAN blackberries or blackberries from other neighbourign countries, that AAF are listening in to calls is somewhat of an over estimation of both capability and reality against the background of so much voice and data traffic, especially in the cities.

    ROSHAN are issued to huge numbers of ISAF personnel, so much so that a great deal of day to day business is done over it, just like in the UK.

    The iPhone can now be unlocked officially so you can drop in a ROSHAN PAYG SIM and crack on with both data and voice, however the issue here is that a UK iPhone (or any UK phone) IMEI identifies it to the cell network as a UK phone. If the dire threat exists really of intercept then although everyone else may be using ROSHAN local phones the UK ones will stand out from the pile by the IMEI of their iPhone. This would be true of course of the US and all other countries phones.

    So then the question is what really is the scale of the intercept threat, and why is it only UK that is preoccupied with it? Or is it to stop uncontrolled access to the comms system bypassing welfare lockdowns?

    With 80% of troops in theatre being US, and the US having no such restrictions, and most posts havign issued ROSHAN then it does make you wonder what's real with team UK.
  6. Alternatively pop your UK SIM before you leave UK and just use the wifi function when its available, with no SIm then there is no cell registration, so no IMEI visibility but you still get email, music and skype facilities to home in an easy hand held.
  7. Maybe not such a good idea, as OPTAG briefed us this week that simply removing a sim card from an iphone would still leave you liable to disciplinary action in theatre. Advice was to find alternate means to provide music/video/photos.
  8. Correct, no iphone (or any other type of personal mobile) is allowed in theatre even with the sim removed.
  9. UK Mil do use Afghan mobile network in Theatre. Most duty mobiles use them.
    Contractors have to use the local network.
  10. Does that extend to civilians in theater? Only I know of one who took a Sat phone. NO, not a spook.
  11. Depends on if the civilian comes under military law I suppose. I know the press have all sorts.
  12. I see no problem with Jocks, Geordies and those from Norn Iron having phones in theatre. No bugger can understand them anyway so Terry has no chance.

    Its genetic / self encryption, innit.
  13. He was not press.

    When on camp?
  14. :D I have had some sex this week so the rage is not as strong. Rules is rules tho innit?
  15. MrBane

    MrBane LE Moderator Reviewer Reviews Editor

    1: Mobile phones into theatre results in news getting back to the UK faster than the official chain and creates a lot of problems.
    This has been proven numerous times.

    2: Troops should deal with and get used to the idea of being out of touch with their loved ones and family, more to allow their families to come to terms with the idea of seperation, but some young lads need to get a grip of their priorities too.

    3: Lads would start taking them out on the ground and they'd either be distracted by them, or lose them.

    4: People would end up spending a fortune on calls. The Army has as to protect those that can't protect themselves, and most of us can name a few muppets that can't control their finances. God forbid you give them permission to have a mobile they can top up whilst in theatre.

    I think most of us agree it's a bad idea. I think too many people lose focus on what's going on when we're out there, and need to break away from home ties and comforts. I know it's difficult if you're permanently stationed in Bastion, Lash or even Price, as you have to find ways to spend your time. Facebook is bad enough as it is. There was chat about banning Facebook on Paradigm, due to security leaks through it and idiots not being able to act professionally. The argument goes that before Facebook there was email. With email, you kept in touch with people that mattered as opposed to telling the whole world what you're doing. As such, why can't people go back to that?

    I remember on Telic the QM found one of the guys with a phone, took it and smashed it with his boot heel. :)