Wednesday, August 19, 2009

free mobile services, ad based

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.

Blyk continues its move from MVNO to operator partnership – Orange named as Blyk’s exclusive UK partner

Another Blyk-like free mobile telephony service Tomato Plus has been launched in October 2008 in Croatia. While Blyk targets youth aged 18-24, Tomato Plus does not limit its offer.

If you are interested in this as much as I am, I'd recommend you read more on free ad based mobile offerings by following the very valuable links below:

ANAYLSIS: Orange UK Buys Into Blyk Ad-Funded Model; But Is There Something Better Than Free?

Tomato Plus Seems to be a Winner

Blyk concept validation, if clone can make big success out of it, then..

Final thoughts ?

* FREE is not only the kicker, it's the quality of their service offered
* The concept seems to be validated
* Tough market education of potential advertisers

2009-08-25, additional link:

Mobile Advertising: 100 times more customers - Blyk’s Wholesale Strategy

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