New year mobile bug strikes French texters

Mobile phone (file pic)
Image caption Dozens of Orange customers complained that they had been overcharged

Hundreds of French mobile phone users say a bug has prompted them to send dozens of unintended new year messages.

French mobile operators have already revealed that 930m texts were sent on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Now it has emerged that individual Orange customers unwittingly sent as many as 130 text or picture messages - potentially at a high extra cost.

Orange has blamed a "network operator failure" for the bug, saying it affected only a few hundred people.

Dozens of customers complained that the problem had led to them being charged hundreds of euros extra. Multimedia (MMS) messages tend to be charged at a higher rate than text only (SMS) messages.

One user, who identified himself only as Didier, wrote on an Orange user forum that he had been billed for 300 picture messages.

Another complained that his family and friends had received the same MMS text 15 times.

Orange, which is owned by France Telecom, pledged that no-one would be overcharged.

A spokesman for the company said that one "of the network operators had had technical problems during the night" and refused to name the operator in question.

However, other operators insisted they had not encountered any difficulties.

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