Payer Innovation

In the summer of 2007, teens and college students in the United Kingdom got an offer they couldn’t refuse: completely free cellular service. Promoted as a hip and exclusive option in nightclubs, cafés, and young-adult hot spots, a new mobile phone company headquartered in Finland called Blyk was doing something unheard of in the mobile telecommunications space: it was giving all its minutes away. Users just needed to order a free SIM card from the company and register on the Web site to talk and receive texts, no charge. There was a catch, though: six times a day, Blyk users were required to listen to an advertising spot. At a time when mobile penetration had reached saturation and mobile advertising represented less than 1 ...

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