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An Orange non-spokesperson let loose his thoughts to us on the America mobile phone tariffs, which made a great deal of sense and a lot more than the actual tariffs do themselves.

This all came about on a chance meeting during a meander around Orange’s exhibition hall. The very same room in fact, where we sighted the Nokia N97, 5800 and BlackBerry Bold we brought you news on earlier this week.

A learn’d colleague and good friend on Symbian Guru, the very Guru himself was also talking to this chap when the subject of tariffs came up.

If you weren’t already aware, call charges on mobiles in the US of A are charged very much like roaming fees – even if you are from that very same country, have a contract in that country and are calling from that country too.

Meaning that you also get charged for all incoming calls and in most cases, the messages you receive too. Just as you would do if you had a phone on a contract in the UK, travelled aboard and were using the phone over there.

If you had a mobile phone contract in the States with 700 minutes per month – not only would that number go down every time you made a call, but also when a call came in.

The same works with text and multimedia messages too, although we were told on some packages or networks this might not always be the case. As it could be possible to see just a preview of a message, without actually seeing its entire contents and have that not impact on your monthly allowance.

Why and where this all originated from and possibly the entire cause of this absurdity was outlaid to us.

The theory the Orange chappie had was all to do with geographical locations, curiously enough.

In American you can’t really tell if you’re calling a mobile phone or a landline. As there is no prefix before the number dialled, where there is in the UK with the ’07’ dialling code.

Instead it’s all done by region, much like a normal landline number operates – with the likes of 020 7555 5555, for an example. That very same phone number could also be a mobile phone number in the USA, whilst in the UK it would be 07955 555 555.

The networks and carriers may have thought this would be a good model and simple to implement at the time, but might have not really considered the cost and implications of the charging structure attached.

Where the ’07’ clearly signifies and denotes a mobile number in good old Blighty, with the identified surcharge recognised in calling as compared to a landline. From that a premium fee is attached and that’s really where the money is made in carrying calls across that network.

In America there’s no such luxury. There is nothing attached to a phone number showing it’s a mobile phone number or even what network it’s on either. With the UK, the numbers after ‘07′ even shows what network, such as Orange, Vodafone, 3, the phone is on too.

To make up for these lacking costs, as the non-spokes person from Orange put it, other charges need to be levied somewhere else.

Hence the fee charged for inbound calls and messages too. Seeing as this began at year dot on the conception of a cellular network in the States – there really is no way now to change this.

They’re stuck in a monumental rut, digging themselves in deeper and deeper each and every year where a major fundamental radical change needs to take place.

Although to quote Family Guy, no one has the ‘testicular fortitude’ to put this in play.

The Guru added something in the closing to us regarding text messaging. American’s all just take the hit now with inbound charges for SMSs, as they’re just used to it as a nation with the voice call charges.

A report is coming out in January from a publication called ‘Consumer Reports’, much like our ‘Which?’ series of magazines over here. They have it that there’s been an increase from 15cents per message recently to 20cents, for the very same process.

With, as they also have it, five hundred text messages contain less than 1-minute of voice transmission. Madness, eh?

Next time anyone you know in the UK moans about their tariffs, call charges or minutes they have per month – remind them there are worse places in the world.

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