AT&T’s Cricket ends test of Adfone’s ‘Ad It Up’ advertising and reward program

Startup Adfone offers a platform it says allows wireless carriers and advertisers to make more money. (Adfone)

AT&T’s prepaid brand Cricket has ended a four-month test of an advertising and reward program from startup Adfone. Called “Ad It Up,” the program rewarded users who viewed advertisements with bill credits, prizes and other incentives.

“Effective March 30, 2018, the 4-month trial of Adfone’s Ad It Up app for a small number of our customers will end,” a Cricket representative confirmed to FierceWireless. “Customers can continue to earn points through 4/23/18 and redeem them through 4/28/18. This was a limited time trial of the app.”

As noted by several sites, Cricket’s latest reward program was available through the Google Play Android app store and displayed ads on the lock screen of users’ phones. Users who viewed more ads received more rewards. On its website, startup Adfone professes to “enable wireless carriers and advertisers to better monetize their assets, while creating a more direct relationship with consumers.” For advertisers specifically, the platform promises to collect “user interests, demographics and purchase intent, to drive better conversions and ROI for advertisers.”

The Cricket spokesperson declined to provide any further details on the company’s tests and didn’t say whether the company would continue with the program in some other fashion.

Cricket’s discontinuation of Adfone’s “Ad It Up” offering comes just a few months after the prepaid provider ended the "Cricket Rewards” offering that it launched in 2015. Under the Cricket Rewards program, which the carrier ended in February, customers could earn rewards by taking actions in a variety of different apps and signing up for Cricket services, and then redeem them for gift cards, sweepstakes entries and charitable donations. The offering did not have any lock-screen advertisements, though.

Cricket is not alone in testing rewards and loyalty programs. Indeed, the carrier isn’t even alone in discontinuing lock-screen ads; in February, Amazon discontinued its Prime program that offered discounts on phones if customers agreed to display advertisements on their device’s lock screen.

Meanwhile, AT&T continues to offer its Thanks customer loyalty program (though it did discontinue its Plenti program last year), while Verizon continues to offer its Up program and T-Mobile continues to offer its own T-Mobile Tuesdays offering.