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April 28, 1994

ORANGE IS AFTER ALL THOSE CUSTOMERS THAT DON’T WANT FREE PHONE CALLS

By CBR Staff Writer

Claiming that customers don’t want free phone calls, Hutchison Telecom (UK) Ltd yesterday launched its Orange cordless phone service in the UK. The network will initially cover 50% of the UK population, rising to 90% by the middle of next year. The pricing structure of Orange will be completely different from that of rival Mercury’s Communications Ltd’s One-2-One service. For a start, no calls are free – managing director Hans Snook caused some hilarity at the launch by asserting that independent research showed users didn’t want free calls. He couldn’t say who had carried out this research. Snook also made the astonishing claim that Orange made no charge for line rental literally true, perhaps, but just a tad misleading given that there’s a minimum monthly charge of UKP15, for which you get UKP4 worth of free calls. Similar discrepancies apply at all of the service’s five service levels. At the basic level, calls cost 25p per minute peak rate and 12.5p per minute at other times. One charging feature long overdue in the cellular world is that calls are charged by the second rather than by the minute. The service includes as standard an answerphone service, call divert and call waiting, call barring and itemised billing. A year’s insurance and a three-year warranty are also included. Two phone models are available, a Nokia Oy-built handset costing UKP300 and a Motorola Inc version for UKP250. Oh, and the company says it has no plans to extend service to Ireland, where one presumes that the name might be something of a turn-off to adherents of the Green persuasion.

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