Blyk juggles with future strategy

Ad-funded MVNO, Blyk, has raised confusion in the European market following reports, since denied, that it would no longer operate as an MVNO and planned to build its future by partnering with other operators. The company, which managed to generate a high profile with its free cell phone service for 16-24 year-olds willing to receive targeted ads, has already moved away from this model by introducing a monthly credit of £15 which can be used for either text messaging or voice calls.

However, the company has now confirmed it will not open MVNOs in the Netherlands or Belgium--where it has offices--or any other country, and that the UK MVNO was little more than a proof of concept. A spokesman for Blyk stressed the current operation in the UK would continue and there were no plans to close it, but confirmed the company's focus had shifted towards seeking stronger partnerships with mainline operators rather than operating an own-brand service.

Given that analysts claim Blyk has struggled to achieve mass-market appeal, having only attracted around 200,000 users, its move towards operator partnership would appear inevitable following the sharp downturn in advertising. Also, by linking with Orange, Vodafone, etc., the service would become more appealing to advertisers given the potential subscriber base either of these operators could provide. However, Blyk has failed to detail why these operators would want to partner with a service they'd also compete with.

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