iPhone on Orange - you'll pay for MMS, and texting from abroad

Rather than gliding to the top of the mobile glitterati with the launch of their iPhone packages, Orange has stumbled onto the scene like a drunk baby giraffe wearing roller boots. Bitterwallet has now learnt of another significant difference between what Orange and O2 have to offer Jesus phone owners; MMS messaging and texting from abroad is going to cost you on Orange.

Bitterwallet reader Jamey got in touch to alert us to the charges, which aren't explained on Orange's iPhone brochure site. MMS messages sent on O2 - picture or video - will cost four text messages from your bundled allowance; send the same message on your Orange iPhone, and you'll be charged 25 pence - regardless of whether you have bundled texts remaining. O2 will also charge you four messages from your allowance for text messages sent while abroad - Orange will charge 10.8 pence for texts sent from Europe Zone 1 countries, 40 pence for messages sent from the US, and up to 50 pence to send a text from New Zealand.

If you're already an Orange customer you may be well aware of these charges. For O2 customers looking to make the switch, or indeed for anybody else considering signing up, not only is there no mention of MMS or roaming text charges on the brochure site, they're not even mentioned in the specific iPhone terms and conditions (which you'll only find through the link below the Pay As You Go plans). In fact the charges are ignored completely, the only reference to them being:

Bitterwallet - Orange ignore MMS and roaming text charges

It's further evidence of how little thought has gone into offering competitive price plans, and how Orange are clearly hoping to retain and grow their customer base by doing nothing more than exploiting the product's brand. When Orange released details of the prices on Monday, near-identical tariffs to those established by O2 and bizarre data restrictions on wifi connectivity didn't draw kind comments, and two days later Orange have lifted the restrictions on wifi usage. They've also introduced tantalisingly low tethering charges from £4.89 a month - there's no information on how much data this will buy you, although we'd guess at 500 MB a month on an 18 month contract. One further point for those of you still considering going to Orange - if you order your iPhone online you'll have to pay a delivery charge; order it less conveniently by telephone and Orange tell us that delivery is free. Why? Go figure.

Being only the second service provider to support the iPhone should have made stealing O2's crown as easy as shooting fish in a barrel - how has Orange got this so wrong?


  • James
    This is the reason I left Orange in outrage. Went on holiday in Australia and used my phone to text my brother for meeting up etc etc. I did not go crazy though. He used his O2 phone for the same. At the end of the month he got his bill a whopping £34 ie his normal monthly amount. Mine was £238 on a £35 a month tariff. When I got back I range orange who told me I could have called them and asked for a special addon. Now I could have read that for sure, however I pointed out that as I had been with them for five years surely they could just apply those amendments. Of course the answer was that much as they would like to help me, they just didn't want to. I will never return to Orange. Mind you I feel the same about 3 when they removed their three like home bonus but told me it was an addon.
  • A P.
    Orange lost the plot when Snook left. Free numbers used to be free. Now they cost money. Calls used to be billed by the second, from second 1. Now they're billed by the minute, every minute. Delivery reports used to be free. Now they cost 1p each (and don't come from an allowance). Not paying by direct debit didn't cost money. Now it costs - for every handset (from recent BW post). A fully-itemised, printed, bill was free every month. Now finding out how you've run up (Orange's outrageous) charges will cost you. Orange's network used to be the best in the country. Now they don't have that as a USP - everyone else has caught up. They haven't even got the best or second best 3G coverage. It used to be possible to call directly through to home-operated billing, specialist technical, roaming and data support people without going through the menu system. Now it's not. You end up going through a long menu, only to end up in Mumbai. I could go on, but I've got a meeting to go to.
  • Jamey
    Nice one Paul. Hope this helps some people out and stops them from choosing the wrong network.
  • Joff
    Drunk baby giraffe wearing roller boots? Is that one of their new tariffs? Probably one that only lets you communicate through keypad touch tones. Or morse code.
  • Joff
    A Professional, I don't think I've ever spoken to anyone in Mumbai when calling Orange on 150 (or 151 or whatever), maybe Darlington though. I'm not even sure the accent could be confused with Indian.
  • vots
    The reason Orange are keeping these charges up is because they know people will jailbreak and unlock their iphones. They know this because of the number of iPhones that have been showing up on the Orange network this year...all of said iPhones must have been unlocked ;-)
  • Jamey
    Vots - what? You're saying Orange are keeping prices high because they know people will unlock their phones? Please explain.
  • mary
    What Orange also haven't mentioned is the whopping £12 a month for iphone insurance double Orange's usual insurance charge and way steeper than o2's
  • Unknown
    This has always been the case with O2, MMS and texts from abroad come from text allowance. Nice of you to point it out though!
  • Jamey
    Unknown - Agreed, it's not really an iPhone-specific difference between the two networks. It applies to all the other phones/handsets as well. However, with the current media coverage surrounding Orange's iPhone launch there will be plenty of people currently weighing up the options, about to make a decision which network to go for and this information will hopefully prove helpful, allowing people to make the right choice for them.
  • Rob
    Another post about iphones, what a surprise.
  • Paul S.
    Don't worry Rob - there's a post about naked rugby players at the top of the page now, and I wrote it JUST FOR YOU.
  • Gregor
    keep the iphone posts coming. i really want 1 and im on orange till may (upgrade in feb) but i really want off orange. on nov 10th il try haggeling with them in the shop and tell them ,"nah, il go with o2" lol. thanks for the post paul
  • Rob
    I was waiting for the Orange tarrifs before i upgraded my iphone. they are crap.I decided to give my iphone to my daughter and get the HTC Hero,so far its a million times better than the iphone.
  • Kris
    Since we are having an orange bashing sesh (rightly so)... Have a look at this for more Orange download restrictions according to the beeb: "Last night someone pointed me towards this clause in Orange's Terms and Conditions: 'Not to be used for other activities (eg using your handset as a modem, non-Orange internet based streaming services, voice or video over the internet, instant messaging, peer to peer file sharing, non-Orange internet based video). Should such use be detected notice may be given and Network protection controls applied to all services which Orange does not believe constitutes mobile browsing.' It sounds as though services like Spotify, AudioBoo, Ustream and even Facebook messaging - increasingly popular with O2 iPhone customers - will be out of bounds for Orange users." (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/11/oranges_unlimited_iphone.html)
  • ex-orange c.
    left orange during the big exodus of July 2009 and am so happy. Until I didn't realise how much they become the Ryan Air of mobile telephony! Yes I have an iphone on O2 and am over the moon with it.
  • Junkyard
    What's tantalising about a tethering charge of 4.89 a month for 500MB? I pay less than that for 1GB a month, separate of any phone contract. If my mobile contract includes internet access, unlimited or otherwise, I expect to be able to use it however I see fit. I will not pay an extra fee for using what I've already paid for.
  • Spence
    I've ordered the iPhone with Orange and look forward to having it next week - my choice of network is down to it being the only network that works where I live (and conveniently, where I go on holiday in Cornwall). However, I too am more than a little pi**ed with what Orange are doing: Tethering ======== At the moment I get FREE tethering from my SE850i - always have and never had a problem. When I ordered my iPhone I asked why they were charging for this service when I've had it free for years - no answer. So I opted out of tethering - I told them I'll get a dongle, for the same monthly fee, from another network in disgust (I don't need to use the dongle at home - so I'm not restricted to Orange) Insurance ========= Admittedly Orange do have the best Insurance system out of all networks - but is it worth £12 a month? **** no! So I politely told them to cancel my Orange Care - then I was told that if I did have a problem with my iPhone I could get a one-off insurance payment of £50. So wait a second, considering you get a £15 admin charge each time you make a claim, that means unless you break your iPhone every 4 months, you're better off not taking out the insurance and just paying the £50 "repair" service! No-brainer! I've used Orange's services for ages and have never had issues with Internet access - I've used it for Facebook, VPN, Radio streaming and even made a few VoIP calls over it! I've never had a problem and never been blocked - so I really think their T&Cs are just covering their backsides but doubt very much that they will enforce it unless you really take the pee!
  • Bitterwallet’s B.
    [...] the blue corner – O2. Everyone seems to rate their customer services, their bundles allow for MMS messaging and texts sent from abroad, they haven’t got shirty about data allowances but then their 3G coverage both sucks and [...]
  • veedubjai
    @ Posted by mary | November 4th, 2009 at 2:37 pm Apparently O2's O2 Insure policies for iPhone 3GS handsets have increased to £15 per month. It's called O2 Insure Premier Plus. This is due to high increase of O2 customers making lost/stolen/accidental claims for the iPhone 3GS. You would have thought an iPhone 3GS handset that cost a lot of money to buy in the first place but yet people can be very careless of the handset they buy & treat it. This is not some cheap handset. As usual like most insurance policies, any increase of claims due to fraudulent activity will increase premiums for the rest of others. Making fraudulent insurance claims is illegal & could lead to been blacklisted for future claims & may lead to jail sentences. http://www.o2.co.uk/shop/phoneinsurance
  • veedubjai
    @ Posted by Kris | November 4th, 2009 at 9:49 pm Consumer Pay Monthly iPhone Tariff Terms for Data Charges: All usage must be for your private, personal and non-commercial purposes. You may not use your SIM Card: in, or connected to, any other device including modems; to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable Voice over Internet (Voip), P2P or file sharing; or in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other O2 customers. If O2 reasonably suspects you are not acting in accordance with this policy O2 reserves the right to impose further charges, impose network protection controls which may reduce your speed of transmission or disconnect your tariff at any time, having attempted to contact you first.

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