Customer story: Overseas mobile phone contract charges

Wednesday 8th June 2022

How the RAF Families Federation (RAFFF) helped a RAF Serviceman with his mobile phone contract, after incurring significantly higher charges due to deployment overseas.

Extra mobile phone charges incurred overseas

An RAF Serviceman was on a four-month deployment overseas and was paying significantly higher charges for his mobile phone due to his location. He felt it was unfair and came to the RAFFF to see if there was anything he could do.

Armed Forces Covenant advice

We were able to advise, since October 2015 due to the Armed Forces Covenant, Armed Forces personnel and families who are overseas are able to suspend their mobile phone contracts until they return to the UK.

Companies who have committed include:

  • Vodafone, who have committed to enable armed forces families to suspend mobile contracts for three years
  • Three, who have committed to suspend contracts of spouses joining their partners abroad for 12 months, and if deployed for more than 12 months a discount will be applied to any termination charges
  • EE, who have committed to enable Armed Forces families to suspend contracts for 12 months
  • O2, who have committed to develop proposals that build on existing arrangements to ensure that Service personnel and their families are not penalised when living abroad

In this case the mobile provider was O2 who as part of the Armed Forces Covenant pledge they state that they will continue to offer Service personnel and their families commercial fairness by offering to suspend their account in the event of a deployment overseas.

Empowered to approach the mobile phone provider

Armed with this information our customer was able to approach their mobile phone provider to suspend their contract.

“I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing in place, I was under the impression it [the Armed Forces Covenant] was just a discount on getting a new phone. Thank you very much for this information, I have sent an email to the Armed Forces section on O2.”

Our impact

We provide confidential help and support to RAF personnel and families, wherever you are in the world. This can be advice offered, imparting our knowledge of policy and procedures, signposting and influencing on your behalf.

The issues you report to us provide ‘evidence’ which can help us to identify emerging issues in the Armed Forces community. We use this information, anonymised, to lobby government for policy changes – aiming to make life better for you.

If you need help with a challenge you face, report an issue to us.

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