Blyk, a new mobile network aimed at the 16-24 age group, launched in the UK today. It will offer free text messages and airtime in return for sending ads to customers' handsets.

Blyk will work on an invitiation only basis, and use of its network will be restricted to 16-24 year olds. It will offer a fairly-arbitrary 217 texts and 43 minutes every month to its users.

In return, customers agree to receive up to six advertising messages per day. After the UK launch, Blyk plans to expand its network across Europe in 2008.

Blyk aims to offer a highly targeted audience for advertisers - the company will gather information about each user when they sign up, and through ongoing monitoring.

Antti Öhrling, who founded the  company with former Nokia president Pekka Ala-Pietilä, said that many of the mobile industry's biggest names are wrong about the future of mobile.  

Öhrling said that mobile was more about communication than content:

“The first myth that people tend to believe is that content is king in the mobile domain. You have to think about the medium. Mobile is a communications channel, not a content channel. The next generation of the mobile experience will still be around communication, not content.”

The Blyk business model will be interesting to keep an eye on. Will there be enough upside for the advertisers for them to continue supporting a 'free' mobile network? It's a tough call, considering how fickle this demographic can be.

In the future we're wondering whether this sort of thing could be adopted by the likes of Sky, in some shape or form.

Related stories:
10 reasons why mobile advertising is doomed
Nokia buys mobile ad firm

Related research:
Mobile Marketing - Roundtable Briefing, June 2007

Graham Charlton

Published 24 September, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (5)


Patrick Parodi, CMO and General Manager of EMEA at Amobee Media Systems

Blyk will test the level of consumer acceptance for mobile advertising. I am concerned that a model based on advertising pushed to users may be too intrusive for what is quickly becoming the most personal media ever created. Making the ad-impression relevant and contextual will be the key to unlocking this billion dollar industry and will require intimate involvement of mobile operators who are most in control of the mobile advertising experience.

almost 11 years ago

Ian Tester

Ian Tester, Senior Product Manager at brightsolid online publishing

Another year, another ad funded free mobile service. Because the mobile industry has been so well monetised in the past 8 years, right?


I'll give them 6 months before they a. change their model or b. go bust

almost 11 years ago




over 10 years ago


Sean Kar, CEO Parsproductions

This is a key example of the emergence of the multimedia environment in the 21st century, which is continuously posing a threat to ethical and cultural values of individual's privacy.

about 10 years ago


Kelly lou

How do you get a code i have been trying and still cant get one at all.

almost 10 years ago

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