Ad funded mobile network Samba shuts down

01/05/2014

Ad funded mobile network Samba has closed down after first launching two years ago, blaming “unsustainable data costs”.

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Samba functioned as a virtual mobile network operator that used the Three UK platform and claimed to offer the country’s first free Mobile Broadband service.

The operator, which also offered some pre-paid SIM-only Mobile Broadband services required users to watch a few video adverts each day in order to top-up their credit (2-3 mins of video ads daily equalled about 500MB a month or 3-4MB per advert).

Samba claims that it had been in negotiations with their wholesale data partners “trying to cut the right deal to continue” but failed to reach an agreement and thus had to stop offering their service with immediate effect.

The Samba Mobile statement reads as follows:

Samba is closing principally due to the high cost of wholesale data. This makes the current model of offering a meaningful value exchange of mobile broadband unsustainable. The data service will shut down with immediate effect; there is no guarantee we will be able to switch data back on unless negotiations with partners result in lower costs for Samba. Thank you all for your loyalty, feedback and recommendations to friends and family since we launched in 2012.

Samba has promised that anybody who bought a cash top-up that has not expired will be refunded for any unused data and those who bought a SIM or Dongle in April 2014 will also receive a refund by Thursday 1st May 2014.

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