Blyk – a new, free mobile operator – announced this morning it will launch in the UK in mid-2007. Blyk offers free calls and texts in exchange for ads pushed to the handset.
The youth-oriented operator was founded by former Nokia President Pekka Ala-Pietilä and his college buddy Antti Öhrling, who heads an advertising agency. The duo recruited Marko Ahtisaari to manage Blyk’s brand and design.
Blyk’s addressing an obvious need: mobile communication is still overpriced and nobody has yet disrupted it the way low-cost airlines like Southwest and EasyJet disrupted the airline industry.
The future for Blyk looks bright. The ad-based model so clearly trumps the prepaid/subscription model from a teen’s perspective, that with decent marketing it shouldn’t have trouble attracting a customer base.
A more vexing question is how the text ads will work. Sure the Net Generation is accustomed to ads online. But they’re also accustomed to filtering the spam from their inboxes.
A lot of that boils down to relevance and creativity. With the information Blyk gathers about its customers, it has the potential to target its ads very precisely. The challenge they pose their advertisers is: now that we offer you the means to reach this audience, can you engage it with equal originality?
Good luck Pekka, Antti, Marko, and team!