Orange puts the squeeze on customers

Unleashes ludicrous marketing menagerie

Orange is to overhaul its pay monthly tariffs and services as of 1 April.

Details of the new range of packages were released today, each with its own animal theme (see below).

Orange is cutting the minutes new and migrating customers get from lower-priced tariffs. From April, £19 a month will buy 50 rather than 60 minutes, and £25 gets you 100 minutes - 20 minutes less than the current amount. Mid-range bundles will stay the same and high-end customers will pocket an extra 100 minutes for their £75.

The text bundle range will be revised to introduce something called a "digressive pricing structure": the more you buy as part of your plan, the less you pay per text. The standard out-of-bundle text rate will be upped from 10p to 12p under the plans, as will a minute's talktime to a landline, and to another Orange phone.

There will also be proverbial carrot-dangling to encourage 18-month contracts in the form of what Orange calls "Magic Numbers".

The blurb put it thus: "The customer will be decremented [sic] one minute for up to an hour call to the Magic Number."

This seems to mean that you get an hour's worth of talk time to a nominated number for the price of a minute.

An internal document seen by El Reg reveals when the new structure comes in, Orange will start hitting up customers for £1.50 a month for itemised billing. Not paying by Orange's preferred direct debit method will now set you back £3.50 a month too, and delivery reports on texts will cost a penny a pop.

It's just left for new Orange customers and those migrating to the new rates to decide: are they a dolphin, a panther, a canary, or a raccoon?

The 'Dolphin' package - "For people who like to text a lot". Curious pick, given a dolphin's digits are captive within its flippers and it lacks the requisite opposable thumbs - thnx a lt ntrl slctn. Trade in some minutes for some texts.

The 'Panther' package - "For people who like all the extras". Not in a massage parlour way, one presumes. Comes with inclusive 3G minutes. They would give the most expensive package the coolest name.

The 'Canary' package - "For people who love to chat". The superior vocal skills of the parrot family must've been too piratey for Orange's lawyers. And the tarrifs aren't even that cheep. Sorry. Comes with Orange to Orange off-peak minutes.

The 'Raccoon' package - "For people who want no nonsense basics". People who can only afford to live out of bins? And as for no nonsense... ®

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