From The TimesJune 12, 2008 Army officer phonesick on tour Rebecca O'Connor, Troubleshooter I am an army officer serving in Afghanistan. Before starting my tour of duty in April I asked 3, my mobile phone provider, to cancel my contract. Unfortunately, it stated that this was not possible and that I would need to pay my monthly fee, Â£20, for each month I was away, even though my phone would remain in the UK. It suggested that I transfer my phone to somebody else temporarily, but I did not want to do this. The phone remains in the UK, unused. You would think that for anyone going off to fight in a warzone, there might be some special dispensation from the tie-ins on phone contracts. Not so. After a call from Troubleshooter, 3 agreed to credit your account with Â£60 as a gesture of goodwill, but it said that it cannot suspend an account for those sent overseas and cancelling would still entail a charge. This struck Troubleshooter as unfair in the case of servicemen and women on tour, so she called the Ministry of Defence, expecting it to rally round. Instead, it said that anyone going away on tour receives a pay top-up designed to compensate for such inconveniences. There is also an operational allowance of about Â£2,500 for a six-month tour. However, for a soldier on a basic salary of Â£16,227, these top-ups are barely enough to cover outgoings, never mind payments for services that they cannot use. Your case highlights yet another argument for army pay rises. Any comments?