T-Mobile has claimed a world first with a BlackBerry smartphone package that features a year's unlimited email and internet access included in its "pay once" price.
The firm's Pay Once package entitles users to a silver BlackBerry Pearl smartphone with a year-long internet access bundle. However, the one-off fee does not cover other forms of communication, so customers will still have to top up their credit on the device regularly if they want to make phone calls or send texts.
"T-Mobile’s Pay Once BlackBerry is the world's first package to offer a year's instant email and internet for a one-off payment," said Richard Warmsley, head of internet and entertainment at T-Mobile. "When life can feel busier than ever, it's even more important that everyone has the right to easy email and web access to keep friends and family close, and to help to organise their busy lives. Now customers have a BlackBerry solution that means they don't have to think about the cost of using email and internet services for 12 months."
Rival operator 3 is also looking to exploit demand for low-cost solutions. The firm announced earlier this week that it would give its customers free unlimited Skype-to-Skype phone calls and instant messages.
3 said that as of 1 May there would be no data charges or top-up fees for either contract or pay-as-you-go customers who use Skype, but added that they would need to have both a Skype-enabled handset and a special 3 SIM card. These restrictions, however, are set to end "during the summer".
Kevin Russell, chief executive at 3 UK, said, “If you want to talk on a mobile for free, just join us and give it a go. This is for everyone. Our network is built to deliver the benefits of the internet to the mobile. That’s why we’re removing the conditions and restrictions from our current Skype offer and opening up the opportunity to try free internet calling to all UK mobile users, whether they are currently with us or a competitor network.”
Josh Silverman, president of Skype, added, “3 UK clearly understands the desire for people to use Skype wherever and whenever they want. This is the first mobile network to show this kind of innovation to enable their customers to access Skype."
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