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Old 10-11-2004, 06:43 PM   #1
krazyboutWDW
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Question Text messaging and/or cell phone use in Iraq

Just wondering - Is there any such thing as being able to use your cell phone in Iraq? Can soldiers text message home? What about using the internet and emailing? I know that there are some computers set up for email purposes in Kuwait when my D's BF crosses over into Iraq will they have that there also (do you have to buy those cards that have minutes for the internet or can they just use them)? Is it better if they have their own laptop? I know Keli once told me something about a laptop and Titus using one but I can't find the info anywhere now. Auggietina also mentioned getting her DH a laptop. Should you get the laptop with wireless internet? Any help you can give would be appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old 10-11-2004, 08:52 PM   #2
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It all depends on where he goes and what he does. DH is issued a laptop with internet access as it is necessary for his job. He e-mails us from it daily. He is also issued a phone too. He can use a calling card to call us on the phone.

I know some get a personal cell phone in Kuwait that will also work in parts of southern Iraq. Would need to get one THERE for the area he will be in and not available/useable in all places. A phone from here will not work unless it is the right system, and then would be very expensive. Getting one there is the only way, but that just depends on location if it is possible. I know DH has a cell to use when in Baghdad too (in another location now).

He is able to text my cell phone here from his laptop. I know they have internet cafe's set up at many of the camps for anyone to use. There is no cost for this. There are phones in the MWR buildings/tents for troops to use with calling card. The card accepted depends on the location.

He may not have the ability to use his own laptop, again that depends on the location. The climate is very harsh on them too. DH is inside (with a/c) with the one issued to him, but does take it out for meetings etc. They told him it would probably last a year. The internet can be very slow at times too-NOT like my cable here.

I feel fortunate that DH's position requires him to have these technological perks. This is not the norm though, but there are computers/phones available at many camps for soldiers to use.:D
I also read/hear of others that have nothing but an occasional satellite phone call.

Is he going to a "camp"?
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Old 10-11-2004, 10:55 PM   #3
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My DS also has internet access because of his job. He is able to IM us and send us emails when he in his normal job, but sometimes he is gone and when he leaves we don't hear anything. I know several guys in his unit bought cell phones to use over there but they are very, very expensive to have and to use (like over $1,000) I wouldn't do anything until you find out where he is and what he can use. I know my DS has bought 3 tvs since he has been over there because they wear out so quickly due to the heat and sand so I would imagine computers would be the same way.
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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I wanted to add that you really should wait until he gets to where he is going to buy/send anything. It can really vary and there are places where not only could it not be possible to use personal laptop/cell, but may not be allowed. Chances are his camp will have computers/phones for anyone to use.
At certain camps, outgoing soldiers will cell their Kuwait/Iraq cell phones. These phone have very reasonable rates!
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:37 PM   #5
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My dh has a laptop. One of the benefits of a National Guard unit is that the soldiers have another occupation - one of the guys in dh's unit sets up computer networks for a living so he hooked up everyone who wanted to pay for supplies to have internet access in their rooms. Then it costs them $20 a month to keep the service. Well worth every penny in my book! This laptop has been our connection to each other on a daily basis.
I did make sure he had a wireless card in his laptop. He was able to connect using the router in the room next to him while he was waiting for his to be installed. I know where he is in their Internet Cafe there are ports that they can use their personal laptop. I mailed his laptop from here without a problem. I also believe that Dell ships to APO address.

I know of soldiers that have purchased cell phones there. It really depends on what area they are in whether or not they will work. The initial investment I think was about $200-300 (these could have been used phones from soldiers leaving) and then they use pre-paid cards to fill their phones with minutes. The ones I know who have it - it is about .30 a minute to call with the cell phone. Not too bad. But it doesn't work everywhere.
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Old 10-25-2004, 11:57 PM   #6
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Hi - DH is in Iraq has been there since Feb.

My husband's unit did a check of personal belongings before they actually deployed - cell phones were a NO NO - guys that tried to take them had them confiscated. Laptops were allowed - most of the guys are networked together to play games against each other - no connection tho to the outisde world, unless you do as Auggietina said and get someone to hook you up and pay the monthly fee.

Most likely your DDs boyfriend will be going into a location (camp/base) that is already established. They all should have some type of phone bank and 'cyber cafe'. Where my DH is located they are able to buy calling cards to use - pretty reasonable rates - so far he has spent $75 on calls and we talk at least 2x a week. As for the cyber cafes, we also IM about 2-3x a week. I am VERY lucky that his job allows him to be in those areas at 'off' hours when the computers and phones are available.

Also remember most locations are literally 'in the middle of nowhere'... connections are 'fussy', to say the least. A sand storm blew thru one day and they were down for 5. Also, if there is any type of 'incident' all communications are cut off.

Best thing to do is wait it out and have him assess the situation before spending the money.

{{{{Geeze "assess the situation" - can you tell I have been an Army wife WAY TOO LONG??}}}}
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