Blyk, Europe’s first advertiser-funded mobile phone network, launches today (Monday) with the backing of more than 40 brands. Sky, Boots, Xbox and XFM are among the latest brands to have signed up to advertise on the service.
Blyk, which is run by former Nokia president Pekka Ala-Pietila, will offer free calls and texts to users willing to accept ads on their handsets. It was due to go on sale across Europe in June but was forced to delay the launch to ensure the service worked properly.
Blyk had already signed deals with advertisers including Coca-Cola, L’Oreal and Buena Vista. Ala-Pietila says: “Our free offer is 217 texts and 43 minutes every month and this could mean no more phone bills for up to 4.5 million young people in the UK – with no contract. We have the brands that want to speak to them too, representing almost every industry sector there is.”
It was announced today that Blyk will be an invite-only mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Invites will be sent out via “channels targeted to reach 16- to 24-year-olds” in the coming weeks. The company is currently looking for a UK managing director (MW August 23).