Mobile Phones in Iraq

Just to warn everybody off.

The mobile phone companies 3, T-Mobile and O2 have been refusing to suspend contracts whilst soldiers have been deployed to Iraq.

This means you will be paying for a mobile you can't use for 6 months, or paying through the nose if you do use it in Iraq.

Make sure you phone your service provider and check you can suspend your contract. If the customer services rep isn't helpful, just refer them to today's article in the Daily Mail, whom you will be contacting shortly. One mention of the press should oil the wheels for you.
Orange are very good; they will suspend for exactly six month, no longer, so you need to write to them before you get back to get reconnected or loose your phone number (it's the only number I can remember after mobile phones have fried my brain). They do, however, continue to charge their Orange care package but if you have some credit / debit cards they will cover you, so you cancel it.

Good to see British companies looking after the boys.... oh no, Orange is owned by a French Company I believe.
Here's the article:

Copyright 2005 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
April 27, 2005
HEADLINE: Duty calls ... at a price

MOBILE phone companies are refusing to allow Army personnel on active service in Iraq to suspend their contracts.

While risking their lives, some servicemen and women are being forced to pay between Pounds 100 and Pounds 200 for mobile phones they have left in the UK. Others face huge bills because they have taken their phones with them.

The main offenders are 3, T-Mobile and O2. Other networks, such as Orange and Vodafone, allow Army personnel to suspend expensive contracts overseas.

Corporal Ben Moles, 25, has just gone to the Iraqi city of Basra with the Staffordshire Regiment. He, like many others from his barracks at Bulford Camp, Wiltshire, took out contracts with 3 as it had some of the best deals on the market at the time.

Before signing a 12-month contract, his wife Maria says they specifically asked if the contract could be suspended for six months as Ben knew he was soon to fly out to Iraq. They were told this would not be a problem.

But shortly before he left, Ben phoned 3 and was shocked to be told it wasn't possible.

Maria, a trainee teacher, says: 'I think it's appalling that they wouldn't let him do this, given where he was going and what he was doing. I'm now looking after his phone for him, which is costing Pounds 30 a month while it sits there not being used.

'I was told I should let another family member use the phone for six months, but practically everybody has mobile phones nowadays so that's no solution.'

When he gets back from Iraq, Ben will have paid Pounds 180 even though he hasn't made a single call. Some of his fellow soldiers reluctantly took their phones with them.

To call a 3 mobile phone from the UK costs 80p a minute and to call the UK from Iraq costs Pounds 1.80p per minute.

Mrs Moles says: '3 is popular among the men here, as it had some really good deals. A lot of people took out contracts.' She knows of a dozen other soldiers whose requests for suspension have been turned down by 3, which has 3million customers.

Paul Keetch, defence spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, says: 'Given the expense of mobile phones and the huge profits companies earn, one would have thought they would be more accommodating to those serving their country overseas.' Orange says anyone with a valid reason can suspend their contract for six months if they are up-to- date with their bills and have been a customer for more than three months.

Vodafone will also let you freeze your contract while you are overseas.

But T-Mobile and O2 both join the list of shame by not allowing people to suspend contracts.

Virgin Mobile doesn't currently offer contracts. A spokesman says: 'While people are aware of what it means to sign a contract, there are lots of instances where there is a strong case to cancel or suspend one. Firms need to be a bit more human in their approach to customers.' Rachel Channing, a spokesman for 3, apologises for the way Mr Moles has been treated and says he can now cancel his phone and reactivate it when he returns.

She says: 'We are a relatively young network and have not come across this type of request before, so it has been a learning curve. Going forward, we will review our policy and treat others in the same situation as Mr Moles in a similar fashion.' Other mobile networks are more flexible to people needing to suspend contracts.


War Hero
No suprise to see o2 among the list of shame, money grabbing bastards

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