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Orange punts two year lock-in

Puts brakes on handset replacement cycle

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Customers who are prepared to wait 2 years for their next subsidised handset, or give up the subsidy entirely with a SIM-only deal and no commitment, are being offered bonus minutes and text from Orange UK..

The benefits, compared to the 18 month contracts already available, depend on what kind of animal you are: Canaries get an additional 450 minutes of voice, while Dolphins and Racoons have to make do with 300 minutes. Canaries also get 150 more text messages, with Racoons getting 50 and Dolphins remaining unlimited.

This is quite clearly a bribe to reduce the burden of replacing handsets every 12 months. Orange Pay Monthly acquisition marketing head Rob Kerrison said: "Our new 24 month contracts are perfect for those looking to get significantly better value in return for a lengthened commitment and hanging on to their handset for two years."

Orange tried the tactic a few years ago, but said the market wasn't right for it at the time.

The problem is that subsidised handsets have created an unrealistic market for new phones, and the upgrade customers expect every year is costing the operators more each time.

So it makes sense for Orange to reward customers who don't want an upgrade every time a shiny new toy comes out, but it remains to be seen if the market is now ready for a two year commitment. ®

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