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A friend racked up a mobile phone bill of nearly £2000 as a result of exceeding his data allowance whilst abroad back in 2017. He changed his network provider then cancelled the direct debit resulting in this bill going unpaid to today. It's not actually illegal to do this as all the old network provider can do is demand the payment, as a civil matter, and ruin his credit rating. He claims that unlike an unpaid gas or electricity bill, an unpaid phone bill has not consumed any of the earth's precious natural resources apart from a bit of electricity that cost only a tiny fraction of the value of the bill.
A local bobby disagrees and says that theft is theft regardless of whether it's a tangible object or a non-tangible service, so the criminal should be brought to justice and jailed.
Does the IET have a position regarding the legal status of unpaid phone bills and whether or not refusal to pay should be a criminal offence?