Monday, July 30, 2007

Orange goes FREE

One of the anticipated dual-mode handset commercial launches is Orange in the UK. They have trialed the service for some time now. Things looked quite promising when two week ago Blackberry announced the first operator for the UMA-enabled 8820 was to be Orange UK.

But after checking the web site last week, it looks like Orange has some more tricks up its sleeve.

When subscribers sign up for the ‘Unique’ offer, they receive ‘unlimited’ calling to Orange UK mobiles as well as fixed lines in the UK. In addition, they receive ‘unlimited’ calling to fixed lines in 25 countries in Europe plus the US.

The best part is, this is all FREE with any service plan above £30.

Simply ‘purchase’ a Unique enabled phone (which is also FREE with an 18 mos service commitment), and Orange UK subscribers automatically get calls the Orange UK mobiles, UK fixed lines, and calls to fixed lines in 25 other countries for FREE.

How can that be?

Certainly it’s no secret that the UK has an incredible competitive mobile market. Churn is a costly issue. In all fairness, in the Orange UK T&Cs, ‘unlimited’ actually means ‘fair use’ which is defined as 1,000/month of UK calling and 1,000/month of international calling. Still, that’s quite a bit of calling for no charge.

One can image that the Orange team struggled with how to inspire the UK consumer with something new and Unique? It’s a crowded market, how does one win new subscribers and hold on to existing customers? FREE is a word that gets people’s attention.

At the end of the day, Orange is really looking to lock up subscribers between their mobile and broadband service. But offering these types of incentives, Orange is looking to convert (or sign up new) broadband subscribers.

The rumor is that Orange will start a marketing push after the summer.

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