Opera Software has unveiled Sponsored Web Pass, a way for mobile users to get free data packages in return for watching advertising.

The Web Pass comes in a variety of formats, such as one day of mobile internet or one hour of Twitter usage, paid for by an advertiser. Sponsors can choose the time limit and type of content accessed when setting up their Web Pass in Opera Mini.

In return, users must watch a short ad before their Web Pass is granted, similar to the ads before YouTube videos or other online content.

Once the Sponsored Web Pass has run out, users are given the option to engage with a new sponsor for additional free internet time or purchase a paid Web Pass for advertisement-free surfing.
Engaging new users

Engaging new users

"Sponsored Web Pass gives operators a unique channel to partner with the advertisers and content providers who are already driving traffic across their networks, and helps both parties to participate in monetization of that traffic," said Nuno Sitima, SVP of Business Development at Opera Software. "This is an excellent way for operators to bring new users onto the mobile internet while introducing them to new, easy-to-understand data packages."

UK mobile users have access to a similar advertising-subsidised mobile package from Ovivo called Freedom 0. It offers 250 minutes, 300 texts, and 500MB of data per month for free, though users must purchase the £20 SIM and will be exposed to additional ads while using their device.

For those with limited funds, however, both Ovivo and Opera offer a novel way to access the internet through a mobile phone. Operators and advertisers also benefit from reduced costs and increased exposure.

• Why 2014 will change video advertising