Jun 09

One difference between my trip to Iran in November 2004 and June 2007 is that my phone worked! Well… sometimes.

My mobile service provider is O2, and it was a big surprise to me at Tehran airport when I turned it on for its clock and it delivered a text message. “IR-TCI” appeared and I was able to phone Roozbeh who was a bit late to meet me at the airport. Of course I sent a few text messages. Some odd loops occurred. A message sent me from a friend in California kept being delivered every half hour or so. The next day when we began our journey, coverage continued until either before Zanjan or between Zanjan and Qazvin. The error given by my Nokia E70 was “SIM card registration failed”. Where was the failure? I am not sure.

Non-coverage continued in Qazvin, and in Tabriz, but in Jolfa it returned… But this time from ACell, a company in Azerbaijan. Driving along the Iranian border with Azerbaijan coverage shifted from ACell to Iran TELECOMMunication and Information. When we got to a spot near Meghri, I got a welcome message from the Armenian provider, ArmenTel I think it was. Then back to IR-TCI which later cut out again as we travelled to Kaleybar. high on the mountain pass on the way to K coverage returned. Then gone again through to Ardabil, until ACell woke the phone again in Astara. A switch there to IR-TCI, which then broke off. Whoops! IR-TCI started up again somewhere before we hit Rasht. I presume it will work from here on in to Tehran. But will there be coverage on our weekend trip to Yazd in the centre of the country? Well, we will see about that tonight but the Tehran service cut out after a metro ride this morning. Why am I so obsessed with mobile telephony? The apparent randomeness of coverage bugs me. Is it O2? Or IR-TCI? Or some middleman between the two?

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