Advertising-funded virtual network Samba Mobile has closed down in the UK… just a month after rival MVNO Ovivo Mobile ceased trading.
Samba Mobile was formed in 2010 and launched its mobile network in 2012. It’s posted a message on its website that says “Samba has had to take the difficult decision to close, primarily due to high and increasing - and therefore unsustainable - data costs.”
It says these data costs have made its current model “unsustainable”. Customers who signed up this month will receive a refund for their SIM card or dongle; any credit that’s been bought and hasn’t been used will also be refunded.
The statement goes on to say “You have taken part in a unique experiment that has been welcomed by the ad industry – we have run over 1000 campaigns for our partners and have, to a large extent, proven that people are happy to consume advertising if they are in control of the experience and if they get something meaningful in return. We will be taking this experience into subsequent ventures.”
The Samba Mobile service had used the Three UK network. Customers received a basic data allowance by watching promotional videos online.