MVNO Feature – Ovivo. Plans from £0 per month

MVNO Feature   Ovivo. Plans from £0 per month

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.

MVNO Feature   Ovivo. Plans from £0 per month

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

–          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.

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  • I got an Ovivo sim just to see what it was like, and ended up giving it to my son to use. It’s been great so far. They’ve been tweaking the free package over the months to remain competitive and still make money I guess, but provided you stay in the allowances, there is literally nothing to pay!

    Plus, I’ve not seen any ads as the phone is not internet enabled

  • Martin

    Not the first time a company have tried to offer a an ad subsidised contract. Looks good, can’t really grumble too much for something that costs nothing.

  • Andrew

    I’ve been using Ovivo since last May, so around a year now. Has been really good – excellent customer service everytime I’ve needed to contact them and the free stuff really is free :)

    Would definitely recommend them!


  • There is a catch however: the five second clock on continuing past the adverts only starts running when the adverts have loaded.

    This isn’t a great problem if you’re getting a 3G signal but where I live on the northern edge of Cambridge Vodafone can only offer me 2G even outdoors and it typically take twenty or more seconds for the adverts to load. So my total wait time is more like thirty seconds.

    For me this isn’t a huge issue, I mainly use my smartphone connectivity for mail and Twitter, neither of which are affected by this, but if you browse the Web a lot and you can’t get 3G on Vodafone where you normally browse this may put you off.

  • weirdstuff

    Good choice of MVNO… Been with them for about 3 months, nothing but good things to say. Can’t see it last as a business model, they must be making next to no profit. But as they say, make hay whilst the sun shines…

  • Xman

    My iPad is with them for around 6 months.
    The sim was delivered promptly and Vodafone 3G moves things nice and smooth…
    Considering that the service is free – I have no issue when presented with the ads… I make sure I scroll/read and often click them… I see it as my way to say thank you to Ovivo.

  • happy dude

    forgot to mention that the £15 is credited back to you..

  • Sarah

    I find it funny how people say there is a ‘catch’ when you need to see ads for 5 seconds, it’s not a catch at all, it’s and ad funded/e-commerce driven business model. That’s why you get the free stuff, because the ads subsidise the usage. I think Ovivo is a fantastic new way to harness the power of the ever increasing trend of shopping via mobile devices and giving something back to the customer, bravo!

  • Ian Haylett

    Just caught up with this….If you spend a lot of time with internet connected apps (fb, twitter, etc) will they still work or do you need to connect via a browser, get the advert, then continue?

  • James

    This does sound like a truly incredible deal, which got me thinking it must be too good to be true mustn’t it? After digging around briefly I found this sentence: “When you sign-up for our service, you give OVIVO permission to use your data for marketing purposes.” And then, from reading their privacy policy, they say they may collect “Information that you provide when accessing the Service. This includes information provided at the time of registering to use our Service, posting material or requesting further services”, as well as “Details of your use of the Service”.

    I’m not too clued up on all of this, but can someone more knowledgeable shed light on whether this might this be an indication that, by collecting information we provide when ‘accessing the service/posting material’, they are free to collect anything we post to Facebook for example? Or that they can listen in to calls, and scan texts we send? It would be interesting to know what exactly they mean by this.

  • June Williams

    Does this work in other countries apart from the UK? I am going to Brazil soon, and this would be perfect for the time I am there

  • Turnerscrafts Ltd

    I have used this service for well over a year now with no problems, and always recommend it to others. Darius and his team are excellent, the best customer services ever and they do go the extra mile for you.I have used most of the others and none come anywhere near. long may you continue Ovivo.