Happy Holiday – Remember to Pack Shorts, Sun Cream and Scandalous Mobile Phone Tariffs.

Hidden phone charges?

Are mobile phone companies totally unloveable?

Don’t bother answering.

Five minutes online tells me that AT&T in the US is one of the most despised companies among mobile users.

It is the sole carrier for iPhones in the States, yet despite being a globally recognised name with decades of operation it can’t provide decent mobile reception in off-the-map backwaters, like, er, San Francisco.

Here in the UK we don’t hear the same outpouring of contempt for mobile companies. But we don’t often hear people enthusing about providers either.

Earlier this year I also moved my business account to Orange, driven by the iPhone. The lure of Apple’s handset outweighed my mistrust of Orange and it was the most cost-effective way to get the iconic handsets for the team.

To contextualise that I should point out that our business account was previously with Orange and when we pulled it five years ago I swore I’d never do business with them again.

So, yes, I am a gadget harlot for prostituting my principles and crawling back to the cellphone satan earlier this year – just to get my hands on Steve Jobs’ lump of aesthetically-pleasing plastic.

Since returning I’ve had several phone calls with Orange customer service reps – and they couldn’t have been more approachable, more helpful and more human. Real people with empathy who got things done. Impressive. Chalk one up for Orange; the shift in customer service from five years earlier has been seismic.

Yet they just had to go and let themselves down. With holiday season about to get into full swing, we took the precaution of checking the so-called roaming charges for a couple of possible destinations.

Just as well we remember to check as here’s what we found:

CHARGES FOR PHONE USE IN TURKEY:

0.75p to make a call
0.50p to receive a call

0.25p to send a text message
Free to receive text messages

£5.50 per MB for data charges

£0.60 to send a picturd message below 50KB
0.75p to send  a picture message over 50KB
Receive picture messages free

Bundle – email and internet worldwide up to 20MB – £50

CHARGES FOR PHONE USE IN ITALY:

0.33p to make a call
0.16p to receive a call

0.11p to send a text message
Free to receive text messages

£2.55 per MB for data charges

£0.60 to send a picturd message below 50KB
0.75p to send  a picture message over 50KB
Receive picture messages free

Bundle – email and internet worldwide up to 20MB – £20

In other words, when I go on holiday my aesthetically pleasing lump of Apple plastic will be just that – a lump of plastic. I certainly won’t be using it as any sort of communication device.

Thanks Orange!

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