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Orange U24 offers younglings free data, texts and calls

Fancy an extra 1GB of free mobile Internet? Unlimited UK calls and texts to anyone on Orange or T-Mobile? Are you 24 or older? Oh, shame.

Fancy an extra 1GB of free mobile Internet? How about unlimited UK calls and texts to anyone on Orange or T-Mobile? Sounds great! Are you 24 or older? Bad luck, granddad.

Orange's new U24 deal gives younglings calls, texts and data for free, as long as you're paying at least £15 per month on contract or pay as you go. It's available to both new and existing customers.

For £15.50 per month, Orange is offering the four-star Orange San Francisco 2 or Nokia Lumia 610 phones for free with (for example) 50 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of data, plus an add-on. That's a pretty meagre data allowance, but with an extra 1GB on U24 it should be more than enough for a month of surfing.

A new app to go with the service identifies which of your contacts are on Orange or T-Mo, so you can see who you can call and text for free. It's available now for Android and BlackBerry -- the iPhone version hasn't yet hit the App Store and there's no word on a Windows Phone version.

The app is pretty simple -- it shows all your contacts and puts a little orange and pink logo next to the ones you can contact for nothing. It also breaks down your usage, so you can see how much use you're getting out of the deal. It's not restricted to under-24s, so anyone who has a friends and family deal can use it.

"U24 will go down well with university students who are paying hefty tuition fees on top of general living costs," said uSwitch.com's communications commissar Ernest Doku (no relation). "You could feasibly see whole student households signing up to this deal so they can text and call each other at no cost.

"Expect other providers to quickly follow suit and offer similar packages aimed at a younger audience," he added. "It may take a lot more than Orange is offering to keep them beyond the contract period."

The free calls are likely to be less of a draw than the texts and data -- new research from Ofcom shows virtually everyone aged 16-24 uses texts, IM or email every day to keep in touch with friends. Smart phone ownership has jumped in the past year too, with nearly four in ten Brits owning an Internet-connected blower.

Are you shopping around for a new contract? Would this deal sway you to join the citrus side? Are you 24 and hopping mad you've just missed out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or on our Facebook page -- and check out our mobile deals section for loads more.