UK virtual network Ovivo Mobile, which launched its ad-funded mobile phone service earlier this year, has admitted it’s had to change its pricing model due to consumer fraud.
In a blog post that was also sent as an email to the MVNO’s customers, Ovivo Mobile CEO Dariush Zand said recent tariff changes were necessary to prevent the company from being jeopardised by a small group of fraudulent users.
He wrote “Whilst the number of these fraudsters is small, they have sought to attack the core business model that Ovivo practices and undermine our business. Some of these people have used the service excessively, purchased multiple SIM cards, in some cases in different names (swapping these SIM cards between their phones in order to just use the free voice, text and data we offer) and in some cases actively promoting ways in which our advertising systems could be bypassed.”
Ovivo Mobile originally offered a smartphone-only service that allowed customers to ‘earn’ a free allowance of calls, text messages and mobile data access in return for viewing advertisements. Since the end of August the service has been opened to all mobile phone users but with a different pricing model.
The company says it aims to reintroduce the advertising and return to the previous charging model in the future.