Texting to and from Afghanistan

Contributor

Texting to and from Afghanistan

I've been working in Afghanistan for several weeks now, and was using my Verizon Blackberry 8830, with no problems when it came to calling and texting.  I got back to the US a week ago and switched to the iphone with AT&T, and ported the Verizon number over to my new account.  Now, I can't seem to call Afghanistan from my AT&T iphone, and when I send texts there my colleagues (who have cellphones with the local carrier in Afghanistan) say they receive them, but I'm not receiving their replies.  Anyone know why this would happen??  I'm particularly puzzled as to why my texts are getting through but I'm not getting the replies.  Thanks!
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Guru

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

[ Edited ]
How recent was the number port? I'm wondering if that is the problem.  Do you have a friend with ATT that you can have someone in Afghanistan send a test text message to?  Are your friends/colleagues using US phones over there or local ones?
Message Edited by stufried on 06-05-2009 10:23:34 AM
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Contributor

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

The number port was just a few days ago, so that may be the issue.  The folks I'm trying to communicate with use phones & service from the Afghan wireless carrier, which wasn't a problem just a week ago when using my Verizon Blackberry.  I'll give it a few more days and see what happens.
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Guru

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

When you port a number over, it sometimes take a little bit of time for the entire system to catch up.  For example, when I ported my home phone from carrier A to carrier B, I had carrier B change the way my caller-id name displayed.  It took over a month for the correction to make its way throughout the system.  I'm guessing that there are databases which tell carriers where to route a particular text message and that isn't working.  If your friends in Afghan can send e-mails to phones, have them send the message to your phone number @mobile.att.net.  For example, 2125551212@mobile.att.net.  I know it is an imperfect solution, but it works.  Depending on the plan, they actually save some money this way since SMS to e-mail is usually billed at the domestic SMS rate.  

 

Incidentally, ATT has a package with 100 foreign SMS messages for $9.?? a month.  The texts have to be send from inside the US, but it would save some money.  

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Contributor

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

I have a similar problem with receiving text from Afghanistan. Were you able to fix the problem? Thanks!
Message 5 of 12 (6,995 Views)

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

I can receive text messages from afghanistan and able to send which also shows on my bill that they were received, but the texts are not going through to the wireless phone that I'm sending them to. Customer service advised me that Afghanistan wasn't on the list to be able to receive text messages like other countries. It doesn't make sense to me. Has anyone heard of this?
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Scholar

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

There are certain countries that, because of their wireless providers, texts just get lost in the middle. That would be the reason that they are saying that the country is not on the correct list. Do yourself a favor and call Customer Care and see if your phone is provisioned for international use. Not all phone lines are set up from the start to be used to make calls, or text, internationally. If worst comes to worst you might even need to get to their International Care department and see if they can assist.
Message 7 of 12 (6,744 Views)

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

They did check my phone and all of the settings were correct for calling and sending text internationally, which my bill shows were received. I  didn't realize they had an international customer service. He had put me on hold several times, I'm wondering if that was who he was communicating with. I will keep trying, as I hate getting text messages and not being able to return them. Thanks for the info.
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Contributor

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

I got back from Afghanistan a couple weeks ago, and had the same problems.  My colleagues in Afghanistan are receiving my texts, but I'm not getting any in return, although oddly enough I did get some on just one day.  Multiple calls to customer care were useless - my phone's provisioned correctly, they cleaned up the routing, etc., and then finally someone from tech support left me a voicemail saying they didn't have any agreements with carriers in Afghanistan so they couldn't do anything about it (duh - I told them that from the beginning, that I knew that they didn't have any agreements at the moment - that should just be a pricing issue, not a technical one).  A subsequent call confirmed that they don't BLOCK the texts, just that they couldn't (WOULDN'T!) do anything to make sure they received texts correctly from Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, I contacted friends from the main cellular carrier in Afghanistan and their technical folks managed to send me a text, no problem.  My understanding is that AT&T uses a third party text messaging carrier for international, and it seems as though this third party either can't or won't sort the problem out, and AT&T staff can't be bothered to figure out or fix the problem.  Meanwhile, we've got tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Americans over there right now, all having similar problems.  At this point I'm so disgusted with AT&T over this that I may just ditch the new 3GS iPhone and go back to my Verizon Blackberry.  I can't believe how pathetic they've been on this issue.
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Guru

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

Try Fishtext.  I use it on Blackberry for cheap international text messages.  You can have it spoof your ATT number (for international calls only, not domestic) or you can buy a UK SMS friendly virtual number for roughly $15 a year.  It might go through.  I'd either try their free credit or buy a small amount of credits and then try it. 
Message 10 of 12 (6,701 Views)

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

Yes, my friend has verizon and her son has no problem receiving a text. We have been with AT&T for years, and this is the only problem I have had with the texting. Crutial one mind you. I have a year to go. This isn't going to work, unless the internet pans out. But then there again I can't be sitting at home  waiting or not knowing even if he's going to get on-line. I will try fishnet? It's the first i've heard of it, but let me google. Thanks for all of the input.

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Highlighted

Re: Texting to and from Afghanistan

I will look into Fishtext, will followup with what I find, thanks
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