Welcome back to our irregular look at the various MVNOs (virtual networks) here in the UK. You know what they say, you get nothing in this world for free. Well… perhaps from that nasty rash I had from that girl the once. Ooh.. But what about a free mobile plan? Yes, free.
There’s a company called Ovivo. They operate on the Vodafone network and offer SIM-only PAYG deals. Normal so far, right? Well, they’re offering a plan which includes 150 minutes of talk time, 200 texts and 500MB of data allowance for…..nothing.
Yes, nothing. No monthly payment at all.
OK, sure, there’s a couple of things you should know. Firstly, the SIM card is £15 to get. Secondly, when you connect to the Internet you’ll see a couple of seconds of adverts to pay for your allowance.
If you use more than your allowance then you can just top-up. Calls are 8p per minute and texts are 5p each, but if you stay within the allowance you’ll simply never top up with their “Phone Freedom” package.
If you recommend a friend then you’ll get £3 credit. If you port your number across then you’ll get another £3 call credit.
Want more? There’s paid-for packages including the “Ibis” for £7.50p/m. This will get you 250 minutes, 400 texts and 750MB data. The “Rhino” package is £15p/m and gets you 500 mins, 800 texts and 1GB of data. The plans go all the way up to the “Whale” package, which will dish out 2GB of data and you get free calls to anyone else using the network.
In addition, there’s “data only” plans for free (up to 500MB) or £5 for 1GB per month.
Here’s one of their promo vids to explain a bit more, but it basically means that an advert will pop up and you’ll either need to click an advert or wait 5 seconds and carry on browsing. Oh and after 10 minutes you’ll probably get another advert which is based on your browsing habits.
Whilst it might not suit everyone there’s something to be said for having a SIM card that you don’t actually pay for, and if you know someone who doesn’t browse the internet much then this could be ideal.
I do still have questions though. What if you’re using apps that connect to the internet in the background (like Twitter / Facebook / Email)? Will you have to open a browser and wait for the advert before they get access? What if I give this SIM card to my Nan and she puts it in her 5-year-old Nokia? Well she continue to get free calls despite never browsing?
Well, we asked Ovivo and talked to the CEO, Dariush Zand. He told us..
Some of the information you’re looking for can be found at http://ovivomobile.com/about-us/
– OVIVO’s advertising is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible. It is designed to complement and add value to your mobile experience, not to serve as a pre-requisite. We only show advertising when you are using the browser on your device, so when using applications such as Twitter, Facebook or E-mail you wouldn’t see the advertising, nor would your usage of these applications be impaired. The only instance when you would see advertising from OVIVO within an application, is if the application itself launches a self-contained browser.
– You can use any unlocked tablet or mobile device on our service, it doesn’t have to be a Smartphone – Feature Phones or Non-Smartphones are absolutely fine. Devices such as GPS Trackers or Satellite Navigation equipment are not supported at OVIVO. As long as you are using a supported device, you will continue to receive the benefits of the service we offer, regardless of whether you go online from your device to browse the Internet and see our adverts.
Sounds pretty decent to me. Do you use Ovivo? We’d love to hear your thoughts.