Twenty universities across the country have been targeted following the MVNO’s UK launch last month. Young people can also get invited to Blyk by attending Unitaur, a free music festival to run in about 10 cities across the UK this month.
Blyk, which uses the Orange network, offers users 43 free minutes and 217 free texts a month in exchange for receiving up to six MMS advertisements a day. Once a user’s free balance runs out, they can use a prepay top-up system. Calls cost 15p a minute and texts cost 10p.
More than 40 brands have signed on with Blyk. Advertisements are user-specific, with information collated via polling and profiling.
Although joining the service is strictly via invitation, UK marketing director Jon Fisher said it was not about making it exclusive.
“We want people to invite people to share the experience because members can promote Blyk better than we can,” said Fisher.
“We see the network as a social network, and the experience will be different for everybody. If the advertising content is relevant, it will no longer be regarded as advertising, but information.”
Fisher said Blyk’s offer would appeal to 4.5 million 16- to 24-yearolds in the UK.
Ovum analyst Jonathan Arber said: “The mobile industry has been debating the value of advertising as a method of supporting mobile services for some time, so many are looking to Blyk as a test case. But we wonder if some users will simply swap their SIM once they’ve used their free minutes.”