Data usage is a hot topic at the moment. Most networks have started to get wise to the fact that – if you want to sell a “mobile internet” handset you’ve got to give users a decent allowance. If you don’t, people will simply be too cautious and not use it at all. Recently Vodafone announced that all of their plans were to include a 500Mb browsing allowance, T-Mobile have a very generous 1Gb “fair usage” policy and o2 recently dropped their limits after launching the iPhone. Other networks, like Three, target data users and want to get them on board.
Orange however don’t seem to want to play. Personal customers signing up to their network get a “fair usage” cap of 30Mb – around 1Mb a day. We’ve posted story after story about this and Orange show no sign of changing it. They’ve also made themselves less popular by announcing a £999 price tag on the HTC Shift – a device that sells for £873.99 without a contract! Two years ago they also took the decision to remove the popular MSN / Windows Live Messenger from the SPV range of handsets. Again, nobody could understand why – Messenger used data minutes, so it was beneficial for the network. At the time a product called “Orange Messenger” was queued up to replace “MSN Messenger” but it never materialised, until now. Today, in a move which will no doubt haemorrhage more customers, Orange have finally announced their Orange Messenger software. It’s a branded version of Windows Messenger by the looks of it, and it’s free…. err.. at least until June 1st.
After June 1st things get messy. Orange state that you can “use Orange Messenger as much as you like for £4 a month or £1 a day with our Unlimited bundles”. Or, if you’re not a regular user you can sign up to use it for 5p per message. Yes, 5p per message!!
Sorry Orange, but we’re going to have to post an editorial comment here – this is quite simply insane. If you actually want to lose as many of your high-value customers as possible, you’re doing exactly the right things. Charging extra for the privilege of having a 30Mb data caps when other networks offer at least 500Mb for nothing? Charging even more on top to use Messenger?!? Customers are more afraid now then ever to use the internet or email on their Orange handsets! What’s happened to Orange recently? They seem to be viewing their customers as nothing but cash-cows, and I’m one of them!
Update – Links now working.
Link – Orange Messenger by Windows Live – Pricing
Via – MoDaCo.com