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Orange starts selling pay-as-you-go BlackBerry

The operator is the first in the UK to offer the popular smartphone without requiring a long-term subscription
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Orange has launched the first pay-as-you-go BlackBerry deal in the UK.

On Thursday, the operator said the Pearl 8120 model will work with its pre-paid data services, making it the only BlackBerry deal in the UK that does not require the customer to sign a long-term contract.

"With nearly two-thirds of UK mobile customers now using pay-as-you-go, we are really pleased to be bringing one of the most popular email and multimedia devices to the masses," Orange UK's head of pay-as-you-go, Pippa Dunn, said in a statement.

BlackBerry smartphones tend to be tied to the BlackBerry internet and push-email service, and Orange's deal is offering that service on a monthly rolling subscription, at £5 per month. The handset itself costs £145.

The candybar BlackBerry Pearl 8120 has a two-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a media player, but no 3G connectivity. It also uses a SureType keyboard, which gives a Qwerty-style layout, but packs multiple letters onto each key.

While none of the other major UK mobile operators supports the BlackBerry on their pay-as-you-go plans, they do offer various smartphones that can be used with pre-paid data connectivity. For example, T-Mobile customers can buy a Sony Ericsson W880i for £98 and get a day's use of the mobile internet for a pound, and Vodafone sells Nokia's 6210 Navigator smartphone for £170, after which pre-paid mobile internet use would also cost £1 for a day's use.

BlackBerry Pearl 8120

Orange is offering the Pearl 8120 on pay-as-you-go, making it the first operator not to require a long-term contract for a BlackBerry
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