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The UK's 36 million or so Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) mobile phone punters are being ripped to the tune of £500m, video mobile network operator 3 claims

Unveiling its own PAYG tariffs, the mobile outfit said that punters were being hit by a £500m penalty simply because they choose to pay up front.

In its report the Great British Pay-As-You-Go Scandal, 3 said punters were the victims of a range of factors from "confusing price structures to entrenched industry practices, which penalise customers while increasing operator revenues".

Said 3 COO Gareth Jones: "It's hard to believe that mobile operators have been able to get away with treating 36 million Pay-As-You-Go customers this way.

"The third generation of mobile telephony is now here and yet other operators are still clinging to outdated practices which penalise the majority of mobile users by over £500 million per year simply for paying in advance for their calls."

A spokeswoman for Orange dismissed the report, pointing out that Orange doesn't rip off its customers.

"There is no validity to 3's report, we don't wish to comment," she said. ®

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