In today’s age of the Internet, we’ve learned to live side-by-side with advertisement, we might not be happy with those ads, but in turn we get content for free. Services such as GMail, YouTube, websites and online services you love are all kept afloat by ad revenue. UK network Ovivo took that to new levels and gave subscribers free wireless service in return for serving ads to their devices. it sounds like an incredibly ambitious idea, ad revenue is big money, but big enough to run a phone network? In turns out that the project was too ambitious, as the company has now closed its doors, leaving 50,000 or more users without signal.
The company put up a notice on their website yesterday, March 19th, detailing that the company would cease operating however, there was no explanation as to why this was the case. The network ran on Vodafone UK’s backbone in its only market and is offering users a way to get their PAC code in order to transfer service to another operator. Vodafone may well have been involved with Ovivo – more than simply leasing airspace – but the network has yet to comment. No more news other than the closure has come from the company, leading users lost without service and no info on how to get their outstanding credit back or even use their devices on the network. Moving to another network is the best solution, but those looking to take their numbers with them might be waiting a long time as Ovivo warns that “there is a high demand for this service”.
Ovivo cited “reasons beyond our control” for the closure, which is perhaps code for “we ran out of money”. The company had planned to expand overseas in 2015 with £3 Million worth of funding, but these recent news makes it likely that whatever funding Ovivo was relying on simply never appeared. Users of the network were served ads in their browsers every 10 minutes or so, and the network hadn’t been trading long. It’s sad news when something like this happens, and it only goes to show that being a new guy in the crowded wireless market is nowhere near as easy as all the marketing makes it seem.