Lech Wałęsa is one of the most active GaduAIR (Gadu-Gadu MVNO) users. Lech Wałęsa is the first president in non-communist Poland. He co-founded Solidarity, the first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, more on Lech Wałęsa – here.
I've already written about free ad based voip services here, but this time it's in the mobile context. I am a big fan of the concept of free ad sponsored telecom services, i.e. the Internet business model applied to telco services. I believe in the concept and I have seen what giving away such 'free' minutes can do to the overall traffic and incomes in an IM / Internet telephony service. While the effects of a nicely wrapped offer and some good marketing can be spectacular, the problem is in changing the mindset of advertisers who are generally sceptical in adopting new advertising channels - telephony. Why should they pay for this new exotic channel when they can stick to the good old banners and page views in the Internet or TV/Radio ads.
The most popular free mobile telephony service is Blyk with their services in the UK and Netherlands. The service gives away free minutes and SMS monthly in return for receiving SMS and MMS based advertisements. Blyk started off their services as an MVNO in the UK and then in partnership with Vodafone in the Netherlands. The company has recently informed of closing their MVNO based services in the UK and will move from MVNO to operator partnership with Orange as their exclusive partner in the UK.
For all of the (still) IMS enthusiasts out there waiting in vain for all of the rich multimedia applications to be deployed by carriers and vendor ecosystems I suggest reading this post by Dean Bubley ...which I find particularly funny - for some maybe sad but true.