Orange is offering business customers flat-rate pricing for its GPRS service to help companies budget more easily for mobile internet services.
Mobile email access will cost £30 per user, per month, with mobile internet or intranet access priced at £45.
Orange said its prices include an average amount of downloaded data - 100MB per month on the internet service - which it said customers would be unlikely to exceed.
Because customers can average out their data allowance across their workforce to take account of high and low users, costs will be lower, the operator claimed. Most mobile operators' charges are based on the amount of data downloaded.
By 2005 Orange wants 25 per cent of its revenues to come from data services.
Cynthia Gordon, marketing director at Orange Business Solutions, said uncertainty over how much mobile services cost was holding back businesses.
"The reason why we are moving to a flat rate is that our customers have told us they don't understand what a megabyte is and they aren't clear about how many their users will use," she said.
"This is one of the critical barriers to the take-up of mobile data services, which is monitoring the cost. This is all about demystifying and allowing the customer to budget."
Orange has also announced Office Freedom, a mobile data package aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. Gordon said the service could be used by companies with as few as 10 to 20 users.
The company's move follows news of Hutchison 3's pricing of its superior third-generation handsets, which go on sale next month.
3's cheapest contract deal, Kit On 3, costs £59.99 per month. It includes 1,000 minutes of voice calls and 100 video call minutes a month; 250 text messages, 50 downloads, 60 picture messages and 40 video messages; plus free email and surfing until the end of June 2003.
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