Free mobile calls: delayed but coming soon

Blyk users can enjoy free texts and voice calls in return for targeted advertising

Free mobile phone service Blyk has postponed its UK launch until October. The ad-funded free mobile phone service was aiming to launch this summer , as a virtual mobile operator carried on Orange's UK network.

However, Blyk has delayed its launch until later this year to ensure that the service works properly. When it launches, Blyk will introduce a new kind of mobile service to the UK.

Users will get free calls and text messages in return for agreeing to receive targeted advertising messages. Blyk announced its summer launch plans in early April.

It's aimed primarily at 16-24 year-old old mobile users. Blyk users will be required to list likes and dislikes to help Blyk build user profiles. Advertising can then be targeted more precisely using sophisticated profiling systems. Blyk advertising could take the form of video and interactive content, as well as text and voice ads sent to mobiles.

Big-name advertisers

Blyk has already signed up big-name advertisers including Coca-Cola , L'Oreal , , recruiting company Stepstone and Buena Vista , part of the Disney media group. Blyk was founded by Pekka Ala-Pietilä, a former president of Nokia , and Antti Öhrling, CEO with ad agency Contra Group. It's been in development since January 2006

Established UK networks have been exploring the concept of free ad-funded mobile services. 3 introduced free ad-funded video clip downloads earlier this year, with targeted advertising sent along with clips.