Blyk launches ad-funded wireless service

25 Sep 2007

Blyk, a start-up mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) run by the former president of Nokia, has launched an advertising-funded wireless service in the UK, targeting the 16-to-24-year olds with the promise of 217 free texts and 43 minutes of talktime every month. It has signed up 45 brands from McDonald’s and Coca Cola to Boots and L’Oreal who want to target this key demographic. ‘There’s no contract, no cash, no hooks. You don’t have to do anything and you get it every month for free,’ said co-founder and chief executive Pekka Ala-Pietila.

Blyk, which uses the Orange network for its service, is currently operating on an invitation-only basis, putting invites in Fresher’s Week packs at 30 UK universities and plans to distribute invites at other events such as concerts. Users or ‘members’, as Blyk terms them can also recommend friends to the service. Once a new user has texted FRESH to a special five digit number they are given an entry code which they can use on the Blyk website. After answering a number of demographic and lifestyle questions they will be sent a new SIM card for their existing phone but can keep their old number. Members can track their usage on the Blyk website and if they exceed the free monthly allowance the phone reverts to the basic Orange pay-as-you-go tariff of GBP0.1 (USD0.2) a text and GBP0.15 a minute calls.

United Kingdom, EE