Orange to become Blyk's first partner

Blyk has announced it is about to sign Orange UK as its first partner, the opening step in the company's hastily revised strategy from a direct-to-consumer MVNO model to that of partnering with mainline operators.

The deal will likely see Orange offering a very similar package to that marketed by Blyk whereby subscribers aged 16-24 will be tempted with €20 worth of voice and SMS credit in exchange for receiving brand advertising on their handsets. The two firms already have a strong relationship as Blyk rents its network capacity from Orange.

An interesting twist to this potential partnership is that Blyk's nine-strong sales team will be merging with Orange's sales business. A small Blyk team would remain in the UK to work on signing up further operator partnerships internationally.

Blyk says its MVNO business, which it now claims was little more than a proof of concept, attracted around 200,000 subscribers but failed to gain sufficient interest from advertisers to allow it to continue expanding. The company has also shelved ambitious plans to expand its MVNO model into Belgium and Holland.

The company said talks were ongoing with a variety of partners globally. "We're in negotiations with potential operator partners in the UK and abroad."

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New Media Age

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