Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Saturday, August 02, 2003
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My Phone Won't Work In Iraq

Won't work in Europe either and I'm not going to Iraq any time soon, so I guess it's no biggy. According to a cellular-news story entitled US blocks French and German companies from Iraqi tender:

The contentious debate as to whether the networks will use GSM or CDMA seems to have swung towards the GSM camp with the requirement that any operator must "provide full national and international roaming service to their customers through agreements with other Iraqi licensees and with a wide range of operators in trading partner countries". The networks will also be required to provide roaming between the three regions that the licenses will be offered. The spectrum bands being made also favour GSM over CDMA.

I'll leave the issues of US spite and the obvious "but what about clean water?" issues aside for now and just look at the technical stuff. It's good that GSM will likely be the foundation of the Iraqi cell network, given the rest of the world is in that camp (the US is always the odd duck it seems). If you'd like an overview of the evolution of wireless telephony systems, check out the whitepaper written by my boss, Paul Whalen.

There was one tidbit in the DoD press release about all this that caught my eye:

Currently, there is limited land-line service in Iraq, Wells said. Telecommunications switches were damaged in the war, but they are under repair. There are 3,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables in the country, but they have been targets of sabotage.

I'm sure there is some sabotage of the fiber going on, but let's be honest: we damaged a good bit of the facility in prepping for the war:

U.S. air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied air war commander.

Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military communications...

Looks like we also had a hand in damaging the necessary infrastructure. I'm not sure why stuff like this still rankles, but it does.


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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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