Mobile plan trades cash for ads

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Mobile plan trades cash for ads

A new mobile plan offers customers a 65 percent monthly discount for customers who agree to receive mobile advertisements.

Australian telco ComTel, who runs on the Vodafone network, launched the new service this week.

For opting in to receive up to five mobile advertisements a day, customers pay $10 a month for $130 worth of credit. If they choose to opt out of the ads, they pay $29 a month for the same amount of credit.

Participating users must actively view at least 50 percent of the ads they receive, or the monthly rate automatically increases to the standard $29.
ComTel believes participation won’t be a problem because the ads will be geared towards the customers’ interests, based on an introductory lifestyle survey.

For now, the deal is only offered as a post-paid plan, meaning anyone under 18 is ineligible to sign up. IDC analyst Mark Novosel thinks ComTel may have missed out on a prime customer base with the post-paid deal.

“ComTel appears to have missed the key demographic to whom this offer would appeal: school-aged teenagers,” said Novosel.

“These subscribers often have limited income and would see the significant value in this deal, while also having more spare time to fulfil their ad-viewing commitments.”

“The older demographic (18-24 year olds) tend to have a higher disposable income and less time to respond to advertising messages to subsidise their mobile spend. No doubt the offer will appeal to some people, however I believe that this would have been a far more powerful offer on prepaid, with the majority of under 18's being on prepaid currently.”

ComTel says this to be the first ad subsidised mobile plan of its kind in Australia, but claims British mobile provider Blyk saw great success with a similar plan, drawing in 100,000 users since last September.

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