I’m a few days behind on this one, but FP Passport has a link to a new announcement for a new application that “will allow users in Iran to download and send content to [Voice of America]’s Persian News Network with their iPhones.”

I don’t really have much to add beyond what David Kenner aptly wrote:

I’m sure that this initiative was begun with the best of intentions. However, there’s only one problem — oh, who am I kidding, there are a whole slew of problems. To begin with, a normal iPhone won’t work in Iran: AT&T, the only carrier for the iPhone, doesn’t provide service in the country. The very wealthy have been able to get their hands on “unlocked” iPhones, which can be used with any carrier in Iran. However, the number of these phones in Iran are few and far between. But even for those with unlocked iPhones, there is no data network in Iran that would allow them to connect to the Internet.

Our intrepid Iranian friend, therefore, would also have to be in an area where he could pick up a wireless connection with his iPhone. At that point, of course, he could also send his video and pictures using more old-fashioned technology — for example, a laptop.

To be fair, though, I did use my unlocked iPhone when I was in Iran in March 2008. I also was able to use an Internet connection on my phone with Irancell — however, the only web page that I could consistently load was nytimes.com


  1. Hey Guy,
    Let me tell u something about using iPhone in Iran…It’s absolutely possible for anyone to use this powerfull cell phone within any of difficulties u mentioned previously. I’m 26 year old and just bought a new Unlocked 3G iphone and since i take it in my hand i found out its internet accessibility by GPRS either in Irancell or MTN is so good as one may imagine! i can download from youtube,it’s officially blocked though! however never forget people can always get through their difficulties by the means of Thoughtfullness! many people here r just starting to use VPN to be able to put the governors internet proxy behind. me 2. although many of iPhone’s capabilities may concern here,but as a matter of fact it’s still so powerfull and usefull to be at the top of cell phone users choices.

  2. Hi Ryan/Cyrus/anyone who may be able to help me,
    I have an iPhone 3gs, and am planning to visit Iran with my family this summer for a month. Internet is second on my list of needs, above food and just slightly below oxygen. I can limit my usage to around 1-2 MB if I need to, but I don’t want to rely on using dial up for various reasons. Would I be able to use an Irancell SIM at an affordable rate for data only on my iPhone?

    And would I absolutely have to unlock my phone? Unlocking seems a little sketchy and I want to stay as “official” as possible, due to my lack of expertise. (I can get it unlocked by my techy nerd friend however)

    Or would it be better to buy an International data pack, for $50, but not have to unlock my phone? (http://www.fido.ca/web/Fido.portal?_nfpb=true&_windowLabel=coverageAndRoaming&coverageAndRoaming_actionOverride=/com/fido/portlets/common/coverageAndRoamingLanding/linkToInternational#intldata)

  3. Salaam Negin,

    Check the website http://www.modmyi.com and click “Guides” at the top for links as to how to unlock your phone. It’s VERY easy.

    Once unlocked, you can get an IranCell SIM card. When I was there in 2008 it was 1 rial/kilobyte (ie, very cheap). However, I wasn’t able to download my email and the only website I could reliably access was nytimes.com. I don’t know if that’s because of censorship or a slow network or both, but maybe things have changed since then. As I recall there are three Iranian providers.

    Let me know what you decide!


  4. I visit Iran every few months and use a prepay MTN Irancell SIM. The Internet speed is good and the price is maybe 15000 rials per Meg on the iPhone usage screen.
    You of course need to unlock the iPhone.
    Don’t bother trying to use roaming from a western country as I tried many sims with varying results. None satisfactory.
    iPhone location services work fine and the app Aroundme will find pompe benzin, banks etc.

    William Fotherington-Thomas LLB
  5. Hi
    I want to buy iphone 4 in a Europe country and use it in Iran!
    but I’ve heard that I have to unlock it!
    How can I do that?Is there any Jailbreaker ?what should I do?
    Please help me!

  6. salam doostan man 4 sal pish iphone 2g kharidam az usa va toonestam bedoone register azash estefade konam dar iran va bedoone unlock ama faghat ba irancell kar mikard va majboor shodam baraye 0912 yani khate sabet unlockesh konam ama khodam unlock nakardamesh va balad nistam ,dar hale hazer mikham az usa iphone 4 bekharam va dar iran estefade konam aya mitavanam khodam unlockash konam ya kheir? ba tashakor az komak va hamkaritoon ,mamnoon


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