Orange has followed in the footsteps of its UK competitors with a set of packages offering mobile internet usage for a flat rate.

The five packages will be available to both monthly subscribers and pay-as-you-go users beginning in June, replacing a set of tariffs that charged on a per-megabyte basis. Even users who don't sign up for the bundle will find their fees capped at £1.50 for subscribers and £2 for pay-as-you-go.

Both monthly and pay-as-you-go customers can sign up for a "daily browsing" bundle starting at £1. Monthly subscribers can get evening and weekend browsing for £5 and "anytime" browsing for £8. Pay-as-you-go customers can sign up for a 7-day bundle for £5.

Orange customers will be able to access certain services, such as their Orange homepage, web searches and download catalogues for free. Orange said the tariffs are designed to encourage people to use the mobile web without having to worry about how much they will end up paying.

T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3 already offer similar flat-rate packages. However, if T-Mobile users want to make use of IM or VoIP over their mobile phones they must sign up for a premium tariff.

Vodafone bans such services outright, and Orange discourages them.

The tariffs don't apply when users roam outside the UK, but roaming fees for data and voice are coming under increasing pressure from the European Commission.

In April Orange began introducing new roaming tariffs designed to deflect criticism of its high roaming charges.