Due to imposed rules concerning phones, I had no data and was only able to communicate with my friends via call/text unless I was connected to WiFi outside of the house. With only £14 available to me after my food shop and proposed travel costs, I proposed a rough phone budget of £5. With a ten minute phone call to UK landline and mobile numbers roughly consuming a third of that budget this severely limited my ability to call my friends and family. This was made particularly apparent when there was a disaster in the flat; a broken light meant roughly 15 minutes of confused phone calls between me and the building’s electrician, with whom there was an apparent miscommunication over which building I was calling from. Despite the great jollity this merry mishaps induced, its financial cost was even greater; the whole ordeal cost me £2.25, substantial on my minimal budget. However, there was one thrifty solution to this dilemma – as it is only 5p per text, I could text people to call me, which meant that I did get to hear from at least my dear Ma and Pa after all. At the same time, it did take some of the joy of out the conversation having to depend on the other person to contact you, and feeling guilty at being unable to burden the costs yourself at all.
I am lucky; I live with some of my best friends and I have the privilege of having a smart phone so I can use Whatsapp and other free calling/messaging services that rely on Wifi instead of mobile networks. However, many asylum seekers will find themselves living alone,or at least not with anyone with whom they have form a close relationship. This isolation within the home is only worsened due to the fact that they are unable to afford a Wifi/internet subscription. As their phone is their main source to the warmth of human contact, it is a travesty how quickly this flame is extinguished.