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Soldiers v mobile phones

Discussion in 'Military Rants' started by John A Silkstone, May 6, 2010.


  1. John A Silkstone United Kingdom

    John A Silkstone Mi General MI.Net Member

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    Soldiers in Afghanistan are being penalised by mobile phone companies that continue to bill them even though they cannot use the phones there.

    Some operators refuse to suspend contracts without proof of deployment — information that soldiers are told not to divulge. They are forbidden anyway to use mobiles on active service because of security considerations.

    Colonel Stuart Tootal, former commanding officer of 3 Para, condemned the companies for making it difficult for soldiers to suspend contracts. “Given the risk that they are taking in the service of their country it seems only reasonable that they shouldn’t be penalised by a contract they have taken out,” he said.

    An investigation by the BBC Watchdog programme found that O2 required the most information, including deployment dates, before agreeing to suspend a contract.

    The company, after being contacted by Watchdog, said it had lifted the requirement. “Customers leaving the UK on a tour of duty to a theatre of war or an operational deployment can suspend their contract for the period they are out of the country,” a spokeswoman said. But of other companies investigated, three still require a letter from the army unit confirming that a particular soldier is deploying. “We can’t just take his word for it, can we?” a spokesman said.

    Vodafone also needs proof that a customer is going on a tour of duty. T-Mobile said that it required proof that an individual was in the Forces, while Virgin Mobile said it was looking at the issue on a case-by-case basis with a view to drawing up a policy.

    Talk Mobile, BT Mobile and Tesco Mobile were not available for comment, but Watchdog said they told researchers posing as soldiers’ partners that contracts could not be suspended.

    The companies have since changed their stance, pledging a temporary suspension of contracts without charge, and without a refund.

    However, Orange allows contracts to be suspended without condition or penalty. “We understand the flexibility our military customers need, which is why they can temporarily disconnect their mobile phone for six months without incurring any charges and without having to produce any documentation,” a spokeswoman said.

    Case study: ‘Billing us just wasn’t fair’

    Beth Simmons said that her partner, a member of the Household Cavalry, called O2 before going to Afghanistan last September to suspend his £45-a-month phone contract.

    He was told to provide a signed letter on headed paper from his commanding officer. The commander did not have time so the couple were forced to keep paying the bill.

    “It was just something that should not have been an issue, it just was not fair,” Ms Simmons said.

    O2 has said since that it would credit Ms Simmons’s partner for the time that he was away on duty.
     
  2. biggmack2001

    biggmack2001 Mi Private MI.Net Member

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    I was in the Navy and my brother is in the Army and we both have been deployed and we have had no issues with the cell phone companies working with us.
    Mac
     
  3. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Just clocked this post Silky
    Do we know if it was ever resolved or do the Fat Cat mobile companies still screw evry penny out of our brave boys and girls?

    had a quick look around the web but didnt find any answers.
     

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