Blyk magic


There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s certainly no such thing as a free phone bill.

But advertising-funded youth MVNO Blyk claims to be serving up a couple of side-dishes for free, at least.

Blyk offers 16-to-25 year-olds 43 free minutes and 217 free texts per month (teenage optimum usage, apparently) in return for taking receipt of six MMS advertisements per day.

Over the course of a year, it adds up to a considerable allowance – according to Blyk, that’s £300 of free mobile use.

The theory is cash-strapped youngsters, typically students, can save a few quid and, in return, receive MMS information about brands they are interested in.

Blyk’s launch on Orange last September – and later this year on Vodafone in the Netherlands – has got the industry talking. But praise for its forward-thinking has been countered by considerable scepticism in certain quarters on the model’s long-term viability.

Some of the doubts raised seem well founded. Blyk’s strategy appears quite rigid – membership is by invite only, with occasional open offerings via its website. There are no plans to change this, despite significant growth targets (which it appears on track to meet).

Blyk claims it wants to foster "sustained" member growth rather than "erratic" additions, while creating a "cool" factor by being elusive and exclusive.

Full story in latest issue of Mobile News (June 30, 2008).

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