The Ministry of Defence spent £64,000 on mobile internet use for a single phone last year, new figures have revealed.
The hefty bill was the most expensive in a list of staggering figures which the Government department paid out enable its staff to stay in touch while abroad.
The MoD forked out an eye-watering £324,407 to pay for the data roaming charges for the ten most expensive mobile phones bills alone.
Labour’s shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith slammed the ‘astronomically high’ charges and urged defence Secretary Michael Fallon to get a grip on the numbers.
The MoD forked out hundreds of thousands of pounds to meet the costs of the ten most expensive mobile phone internet charges
The staggering charges were laid bare in a series of Freedom of Information request figures released to the PoliticsHome website.
They revealed that the most expensive mobile phone internet bill for the financial year ending in April this year was £64,408.
The next most expensive bill is was for for £54,203 and the third stood at £41,055.
In total the MoD spent £1.1m on mobile internet and £831,800 in calls and texts last year, compared with £747,700 and £958,000 the year before.
The MoD said the rise in costs is down to the growing use of smartphones, tablets and apps by staff all over the world.
Ms Griffith told the website ‘These MoD data roaming bills are astronomically high and the increase from last year is astounding.
‘There has clearly been no effort by the department to get these costs under control.’
She added: ‘The Defence Secretary often talks of efficiency savings when he means cuts; this is an example of where a change in policy really could lead to efficiency savings.
‘His department must look into this matter at the earliest opportunity.’
Labour shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith (left, file pic) slammed the astronomical charges and urged Defence Secretary Michael Fallon (pictured right in Downing Street yesterday) to get a grip on the spending
The MoD said: ‘Due to the nature of military operations and exercises, the locations we operate from frequently lack fixed communications which necessitates the use of secure mobile broadband facilities.
‘Roaming mobile data allows operational teams to send and receive data securely and ensure that operations and exercises are successfully executed.’
It added: ‘The MoD continuously monitors both use and requirement, providing the most cost effective solution to any approved task whilst working within the constraints of the MoD mobile telephony contract.
‘Any perceived high costs associated with the use of Mobile Telephony (Voice and Data) by MOD deployed assets are measured against the cost of providing an alternative global communication solution.’