Free Broadband During the London Olympics?

All you’ll need to get mobile broadband in London this summer is a one-off expenditure on a dongle and a SIM card. Samba mobile are offering the service to anyone who’s willing to sit through two minutes of adverts a day. The service is touted as bringing consumers an average saving of £10 per month.
Samba mobile have partnered with the Three network to offer this service. It seems to be part of an ongoing trend where broadband is offered on a short term ‘pay as you use’ service rather than as part of a longer contract. Not dissimilar to mobile phones before contracts!
Interestingly, Samba mobile prohibits the watching of pornography on its service and has sparked a little privacy concern with its warning that some monitoring of its users services will take place. The same limits also apply to material that’s deemed to be in breach of copyright rules.
However, other mobile services which have tried to persuade users to pay for their airtime by watching ads have failed. What makes Samba think they can succeed where so many have failed? In the UK, it’s previously been attempted by BLYK mobile. BLYK marketed themselves as a youth-orientated service but closed down in 2009 after only two years of service. At this point they claimed to have 200,000 users.
It isn’t as easy to make money through advertising as easily as you might think. Services that rely solely on advertising revenue to make money might struggle as the value of advertising decreases in an ever-saturated online world.
The advertisements are more often than not interactive adverts which require you to ‘play’ them through, not simple TV sports which you can consume passively (or let run while you wash the dishes). There’s also the problem that many users might run out of ads to watch if their internet use is heavy enough. The service will also provide cash top ups.

Mobile office users can also use their broadband wherever they need it and don’t need to hunt around for the perfect coffee shop to set up their mobile offices or performing urgent broadband speed test as the Olympics gear up.

Do you think that you’ll be using Samba mobile’s services this summer? With rumours of broadband disruption abounding due to the communications chaos of the London Olympics, dongle services might become crucial to keep day to day internet communication going.

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