5/21/2009 12:18:00 PM
Blyk Mobile uses UK as ‘concept’ and retrenches overseas
Advertising-based virtual network Blyk Mobile has declared it will freeze its expansion plans into Europe, but remains insistent it will forge ahead in the UK.
The project appears to have grounded through modest consumer take-up and investor reluctance to put further money into the venture.
The service, which uses the Orange network and is based on free calls and texts for users who receive targeted advertising, was launched in September 2007.
Blyk Mobile has scrapped plans to launch in Belgium and Holland, preferring to partner with a large network.
UK CEO Antti Öhrling said the UK would be used as a ‘proof of concept’ – effectively a case study to sell the idea of mobile advertising in other countries.
The company claimed to have built up 200,000 customers by September 2008.
Öhrling denied the retrenchment was a result of a global slump in advertising.
MVNO expert John Strand said at Blyk’s launch that he ‘would rather put his money on a lottery ticket’. He said this week: ‘It is a difficult proposition because you need a hell of a lot of advertising revenue to make it work.’
Blyk’s former UK CEO, Shaun Gregory, left to join O2 in recent months, where he has launched a mobile advertising business for O2, starting with
a deal with the Fitness First gym chain.