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Orange has simplified tariffs for making and receiving international calls. The changes appear to be broadly neutral but there are winners and losers. For example, A Reg reader reports that it will cost him twice as much to call from Poland on Orange.

The old system featured different charges for different countries and for different times of day. The new system may be simpler but you still need an abacus to work it out.

First, Orange has simplified international calling tariffs for its pay monthly customers by dividing the world into six calling zones. The new tariffs, which came into effect on June 9, are applicable at any time of the day or night.

Calling from Ireland will cost 40p per minute, from the USA £1.10 per minute, Australia £1.10 per minute and the rest of the World £1.30 per minute.

Receiving calls when abroad will cost 20p per minute from Ireland, 30p per minute in France and Germany rising to 55p per minute in farther flung European countries and 65p per minute in the US. All these prices are VAT inc, charged by the minute and billed by the second.

Not everyone is happy with the changes.

Reg reader Ron Thorp, for one, tells us the cost of making a call in Poland will rose from 51p to £1.10 per minute on June 9.

Under related changes to be introduced at the start of next month calling Poland from the UK will rise from 17p to 26p per minute. He's unhappy about the price increases and what he sees as a lack of notice in Orange's updated pricing.

From the start of July, Orange introduces new pricing for calling abroad from the UK. There are six calling zones, up from five, for the mobile operators pay monthly customers. Many Orange customers were notified on these changes by text this week.

Basically, out goes Peak/Off Peak times, text messages go down to 15p a time and call charges are Ireland 15p Europe (zone one) 20p, Europe (zone rwo)/Australia/NZ 30p, USA/Canada 15pand the rest of the world 80p.

Comparing the revised scheme with what we have now suggests the cost of calling Poland will rise from 20p to 30p. (That's different from the 17p to 26p per minute jump Thorp refers to, but it's still a substantial increase).

Similar checks suggest calling Ireland, Germany, the US and Australia from an Orange phone will continue to cost the same.

PAYG changes

Orange pay as you go call charges, introduced from July 1, mean it will cost from £1.20 to make a call in Europe to a maximum of £1.40 in the rest of the world. Receiving a call costs between 60p to 90p, depending on location. Texting costs 30p in Ireland rising to 50p in more remote countries where coverage is available for Orange's pay as you go customers. Pay monthly customers are charged at a standard rate for texting abroad.

Receiving an SMS is free for all Orange customers.

Photo messaging

Orange pay monthly and pay as you go customers can also send and receive photo messages when abroad. Orange pay monthly customers can use

Photo messaging is available for monthly punters in 13 countries and for pay as you go customers in nine. Coverage is to be extended to more countries in coming months. In an introductory price promo all Orange customers will be charged a fixed rate of 40p per message sent with no cost to receive.
Pay monthly Orange customers will have to manually select particular networks to access photo messaging services abroad, as not all foreign networks offer photo messaging.

Guidebooks via WAP

Orange is setting up a free text information service to inform customers of the costs of using their phone abroad from a particular country. Punters need to text 'FROM' followed by the relevant country to 159 for pay monthly customers or 452 for pay as you go (PAYG) to receive a text message detailing all prices relating to that country.

The mobile network has also teamed up with Lonely Planet to deliver city guide information on its WAP service. ®

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