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Old 12-27-2010, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Afghan Wireless Coverage?

Originally Posted by x86Assembly View Post
I am guessing there is no chance of 3G in the country is there? I am looking at getting a new phone before I go, something I can use to tether the cell internet to my laptop. I want to make sure what ever phone I get handles the frequencies that are in use in that country.

I was looking to get a sim card from Mr. Simcard before I leave, but was unsure how I go about getting data setup. Any tips, hints, or troubles you ran into using Afghan Wireless I would love to hear about them.

How fast is the data, good enough for voice calls, can you browse the internet via a laptop with it?

Mr. Simcard - Spend A Little - Save A Lot! Afghan Wireless Sim Card
Not a chance. It's not even on the radar for the carriers here. Most of the country has GPRS on all four carriers, and they all have EDGE in the bigger cities (Kabul, Herat, Ghazni, Jalalabad, Kandahar, etc.), but for most locations, the best you can expect is GPRS, and it is SLOW. It is good enough for e-mails, and that's about it. Voice (i.e., Skype) is a no-go on EDGE or GPRS, and don't even try to tether on GPRS. Frequently, when browsing, you will get connection failures and timeouts when loading webpages.

Additionally, since you want to tether, I would get an Android phone running OS 2.2 because that version has the WiFi hotspot built in. This is the easiest way to tether. Tethering on EDGE will be tolerable, but don't expect it to be great.

Do NOT buy a SIM card before you leave. That is the worst mistake you can make. Get one when you get here because there are no guarantees about which carrier works best in Guzara. Getting a phone before coming is a good idea, however. I would order one from Expansys (Smartphone, Netbook, Laptop and Accessory Store - eXpansys Canada) as they have a great selection of Android devices and very competitive pricing.

Once you get into country and you decide on your carrier, setting up data access is pretty easy. If I recall correctly, data service is active by default on MTN, you just have to enter the APN settings:
  • APN:
  • Username: wap
  • Password: 1234

MTN charges per minute for data access.

For Roshan, you must send a SMS to 167, with "GPRS ON" as the message text, and then set "internet" as the APN. Roshan charges per KB for data access.

For AWCC, you must send an SMS to 999, with "GPRS" as the message text, and then set "internet" as the APN. The service takes about 24 hours to activate. AWCC charges by the month for data access, and I have found that I have to re-activate it manually each month. It costs 999 Afghanis, or about $22 per month. Ensure that you have enough credit in your account for the activation. I typically buy the 2500 Afghani top-ups, which keeps the credit valid for 6 months.

I unfortunately do not know the settings for Etisalat as they do not provide service in my area. They are the newest carrier and have the smallest footprint.

Hope this helps!
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