Orange starts selling pay-as-you-go BlackBerry

Operator is the first in the U.K. to offer popular smartphone without requiring a long-term subscription.

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

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 U.K. that does not require the customer to sign a long-term contract.

BlackBerry Pearl
Orange is offering the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 in a pay-as-you-go deal CNET Networks

"With nearly two-thirds of U.K. mobile customers now using pay-as-you-go, we are really pleased to be bringing one of the most popular e-mail 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 e-mail service, and Orange's deal is offering that service on a monthly rolling subscription, at 5 British pounds ($7.28) per month. The handset itself costs 145 pounds.

The candy bar BlackBerry Pearl 8120 has a 2-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 U.K. 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 pounds and get a day's use of the mobile Internet for a pound, and Vodafone sells Nokia's 6210 Navigator smartphone for 170 pounds, after which pre-paid mobile Internet use would also cost 1 pound for a day's use.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.


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