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Taking the Mobile Industry Review show to Kabul, Tehran and Pyongyang

I’ve had a few emails from people today — and there’s been one comment posted from reader Ant Carroll.

This gist of the feedback has been words to the effect of ‘Rome: Great’ (we’ve just published the preview video of our trip to Italy over the weekend) but what about somewhere REALLY interesting.

Ant commented thus:

As for next MIR city… hmm Kabul perhaps? There’s quite a few interesting mobile stories there to uncover!

I bet there is.

Well, I know there is.

There’s a mobile operator out there in Kabul that we’ve written about now and again. Indeed we even tried to send some flowers (and old feature we used to do every Monday) to John Hadl, founder & CEO of Afghanistan Mobile to say job-well-done.

The last we wrote about Afghanistan, we were telling the planet about the two major networks there hitting 4 million subscribers. This from a country widely assumed by most consumers in the West to have next to no infrastructure to mention.

I’d love to go to Kabul and see what’s going on with their mobile marketplace. Nowadays more than ever — in this uber-connected worldwide society — the ability to remain connected, whether for safety, commerce or family — is becoming more and more important. Witness, for example, the explosion of handsets and associated innovative services across Africa.

Kabul would need a lot of money. Not least to cover the daily fees of 6x Blackwater Worldwide former SAS paratroopers to help keep us — literally — in one piece in order to be able to bring you some coverage.

I suspect the Foreign Office here in Britain would think us off-our-heads. And I doubt the Afghanistan Tourist Board — if there is such an organisation — would be that impressed to hear from us. I think we’d be a little bit of a distraction.

The Foreign Office doesn’t specifically say it’s a crazy idea:

# We strongly advise against all travel to the Sarobi District of the Kabul province.
# We strongly advise against all but essential travel to Kabul.


Perhaps Afghanistan is a little bit too far. It’s all too easy to live this cosseted life from the reasonably peaceful United Kingdom where the biggest threat today is slipping in the snow. Perhaps we should stick to what we sort-of know.

I am keen on a visit to Tehran, capital of Iran. Again, I don’t quite think their tourist board — or Foreign Office — would be that impressed either.

Likewise, the North Korean authorities.

You never know. I think there would be spectacular consumer mobile stories to capture in these countries. *Specatcular*.

What’s your opinion?

The biggest barrier to us is the actual cost of arranging, getting and staying. Right now we don’t have any companies supporting our MIR Show coverage — it’s me that’s paying for it all — and hiring a few SAS types on £2,500 a day would begin to put a real dent in the MIR finances.

Plus, you can’t exactly book a trip to Kabul on Expedia.

Or can you?

Let’s have a look.

No, you can’t:

Drop me an email if you’d like to help send us to Kabul 😉

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