Along with hundreds of other Britons, we are stuck in South Africa awaiting rescue flights home. The problem is that our mobile phone provider O2 has blocked the use of our phones. We can access data, but no calls or texts. This is a significant problem because we are trying to talk to the Foreign Office (FCO) about evacuation flights. The FCO has said UK nationals need to be contacted by phone for possible repatriation. We are both on O2 and neither of our phones are allowed to make or receive calls.
Thanks for the great coverage by all at the Guardian – it has helped keep us sane at this very difficult time.
We initially thought that a bar must have been put on your accounts as you had breached your roaming credit allowances, or similar. However, you were certain this was not the case. A request to O2 to help you got matters moving and, after a few days, eventually your phones were working again. It looks like that its blanket ban on calls abroad was lifted for the first country you visited, Ethiopia, but not South Africa, as you had requested. You are just relieved to be able to talk to the outside world again – the FCO was in touch to offer flights home, albeit at a cost of more than £850.