Blyk subscribers passed over to Orange, signs Vodafone in Netherlands

The ad-funded MVNO Blyk has finally admitted its business model has failed to succeed and will look to pass its 200,000 UK users over to Orange. Blyk said it will give users of its MVNO service four weeks' notice that the service is terminating and urge them to sign up to an as yet undecided contract with Orange directly.

So far Blyk claims to have run over 500 advertising campaigns, with an average response rate of 29 per cent--a figure significantly higher than average for any kind of mobile advertising, which is typically around six per cent. But Blyk has now accepted that 200,000 customers are not enough to support the costs associated with running an MVNO--given that it has been unable to push the number of users above 200,000.

Ornage UK, which hosted Blyk's MVNO service, is understood to be keen to include an ad-funded mobile proposition as it pushes to become a media business rather than just a mobile operator. It believes offering ad-funded calls and SMS to advertisers can be a valuable element of a cross-platform inventory, which also includes its re-emerging online ad network and portal

Further evidence that Blyk's MVNO model was struggling comes with the announcement that Vodafone in the Netherlands has agreed to offer the ad-funded service, but with Vodafone providing all the mobile infrastructure, and Blyk providing ad serving and ad sales under Vodafone's brand.

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