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At the end of "A Scandal in Belgravia" (S02 E01), Sherlock gives Mycroft Irene's mobile and she's probably let free without her mobile, ending up in Karachi when we are told she has been supposedly beheaded. Sherlock, however, received a text message from her saying goodbye from the same phone number.

How could she do that? Is that such an incredible mistake?

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How do you know it is the same phone number? Can't she take a new connection with mobile and contact sherlock before that? – Krishnabhadra Aug 21 '12 at 12:10

The mobile handed over to mycroft is not the mobile she uses for communication. The mobile given to mycroft is the mobile that was in the vault. That's how she was able to leave that specific mobile for sherlock and text him "mantelpiece" from the mobile she uses for communication. So that is the mobile she has always kept for texting even while sherlock had the mobile from the vault with the information on it.

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Besides, as Sherlock points out in the episode, the mobile with all the data has no external connection; it's so that she can ensure that there is only the one copy of the data and it's not retrievable from outside. If even the phone antenna were turned on, it would be an opportunity for MI6 to attempt to hack into the phone and retrieve the data. – Adam V Aug 2 '13 at 18:06

I have had several different phones but have kept the same number, couldn't she have done the same?

It only takes a few hours for the numbers to transfer across etc, add a little TV speed factor increase and bam there you go.

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I don't think that was the case, as the MI6 kept the whole phone and Sherlock checks the whole list of messages sent from it at the end. – fledermaus Aug 21 '12 at 7:28
    
Besides I think messages are not normally kept when you change phones and certainly no information stored in the card. – fledermaus Aug 21 '12 at 7:35
    
She could have kept the same phone number, though considering her desire to start anew and escape everyone from her past that could be a danger to her, it would seem particularly imprudent. Sherlock after unlocking the phone: "If you’re feeling kind, lock her up; otherwise let her go. I doubt she’ll survive long without her protection." I sure hope she wouldn't reclaim her phone number... – hexparrot May 14 '13 at 23:28

The phone Irene uses to text Sherlock is different from the one which has secret info. When John hands him the phone he slips it into his pocket. His own phone is lying on the table, next to the microscope.

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SHERLOCK: Please. (He extends his hand a little further. John looks at him, clearly wondering what to do, then finally he reaches into the wallet, takes out the phone and lays it gently into Sherlock’s hand. Sherlock closes his fingers around it, draws his hand back and puts the phone into his trouser pocket before returning his hand to the microscope.)

SHERLOCK: Thank you.

When john leaves, Sherlock checks his own phone and it shows messages from The Women.

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JOHN (softly): Huh. (He paces around in front of the kitchen door for a few seconds, wondering if there’s anything more he can say, then eventually turns and heads off down the stairs. As soon as he’s out of sight Sherlock raises his head and gazes across the room for a moment, then he reaches down to his own phone which is on the table and picks it up, calling up his saved messages. Getting up and walking into the living room, he scrolls through the messages sent by “The Woman,” all of which he has kept.)

Source for Transcript: Ariane devere

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