Numerous Cell Phones

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Africa » Ethiopia » Somali Region » Jijiga
November 10th 2008
Published: November 10th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

Ethiopian cell phoneEthiopian cell phoneEthiopian cell phone

the green card is the ETA sim card...completely transferable ..take it out and put it in another phone and you have all your numbers and can make calls!
Since my first cell phone was stolen, I have purchased the same mobile phone again. I am a big supporter of Nokia and perhaps I will invest in their stock when I return to the USA. Of course, I suspect most of the phones in Jijiga are smuggled from other countries—primarily Arab countries and I suspect Nokia doesn’t see any of the profits. I say Arab countries because my phone has the numbers in Arabic below the regular numbers. I loved having my first phone for the 2 days that I had it. It made me so happy to be able to call people and text them. I really enjoyed it and after 2 months without a phone -- pretending to feel blissful for not having the expense or the responsibility, I was suddenly thrilled to have the responsibility and the expense…just to be able to call people. I soon realized that if I didn’t control myself, I could spend/put money onto my phone all the time.

Okay, I suspect people reading this may not understand it…so let me take a moment to explain the Ethiopian phone system. And, I have to say I think this logic for using cell
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loved the Arabic numbers
phones is much better than the American system. The American mobile phone companies have a monopoly and I really feel we, Americans, should stand up and push for serious change. Okay…I’m off the soapbox… after this one last comment: I just believe we should be able to use our cell phones overseas for a reasonable price.

So here’s how it works, remember, Ethiopian Telecommunications is a monopoly and the only choice the entire country has for all communication. So if they block the network, the country is silenced. The key in this part of the world is to purchase a SIM card. (Don’t ask, I don’t know what SIM stands for)First, one goes to the Telecommunications and purchases a SIM card for around $40 USD. This sounds simple but here’s the catch-- SIM cards are only available when the Telecommunications monopoly decides and as far as I know they are only available in Addis Ababa…but I could be wrong there. This should explain one problem related to the loss of my first cell phone…ie) my phone was stolen and the SIM card was in my phone. The point being even if I have a phone but no SIM card, the phone wouldn’t function. The SIM card stores all your numbers and does various other neat things which I don’t understand or know about. So therefore, the loss of my SIM card in Jijiga meant there were no phones I could use to call people and I had no ability to purchase a new SIM card, which was really frustrating.

At this point, I had no SIM and no physical phone. So, I bit the bullet and bought another physical phone. Now I needed a SIM card. I tried to find someone leaving Jijiga whose SIM card I could buy but most of them were Europeans and were keeping their phones or planned to come back or something. I was told I could go to the Telecommuications and they would replace the SIM card if I told them it had been stolen. I actually didn’t have time to do this in Jijiga and since the SIM card was purchased in Addis…it was unlikely the Telecommunications in Jijiga would help me anyway. So my colleague who gave me the SIM card told me she would go to the Telecommunications in Addis and get a replacement SIM. But, alas she didn’t have time so I ended up just asking a friend to purchase a new SIM card for me.
All this happened during the vacation, and since I needed a phone to get in touch with people in AA and while traveling alone, I borrowed Kavita’s Ethiopian phone for the duration of my vacation. Then, I put my new SIM card into my new phone when I returned to Jijiga.

So now I am back in the human race and able to receive calls…hint, hint! Another great trick is that I don’t need money on my phone to receive calls just to make them or to text.


10th November 2008

You know what I think is funny, is how you encourage people to call you, but then didn't give your phone number.

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