Filipinos in Afghanistan given free phone load, roaming services

MANILA – Filipinos in Afghanistan will be able to reach out to authorities and their families after the Philippines’ two largest telecommunications companies provided free prepaid load and roaming services.

In an advisory on Wednesday, Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) said all Afghanistan-based Filipinos will receive prepaid load on their Smart roaming SIMs and free “Roam Lite 250” subscription with 200 megabytes (MB) for web surfing and social media usage valid for three days.

“Smart roamers in Afghanistan can also get instant and free access to Smart’s data roaming manager by going to using their Smart roaming SIM,” Smart said.

Alfredo Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart president and chief executive officer, said the situation in Afghanistan is being monitored and the companies are ready to help fellow Filipinos.

“Access to communication and information during this time of crisis is of extreme importance. We are also praying for their safety as they await evacuation,” Panlilio said.

In a separate advisory, Globe Telecom Inc. (Globe) said it began extending bill credits for its postpaid users and sending free load for its prepaid and TM users in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“Customers can use it to make or receive calls, and send text messages to all networks while in Afghanistan,” Globe said.

To use Globe’s free roaming service, it advised its users in the conflict-torn country to connect to Roshan, Globe’s roaming partner.

“To make a call. Dial “+”+ country code + area code + telephone number (ex. +63773101212) or dial “+” + country code + mobile number (ex. +639171234567). To send a text, type “+”+ country code + mobile number (ex. +639171234567),” Globe said.

On Sunday, Taliban forces took over the Afghan capital of Kabul, with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country.

US troops started to pull out of Afghanistan on May 1, with the Taliban launching major offensives and resulting in capturing the majority of the capitals of the country’s 34 provinces in just a few weeks. (PNA)

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