Customers of US mobile carrier Sprint will soon be able to claim a $5 (£3.50) discount off their mobile phone bill in exchange for downloading an app that will serve advertisements on their smartphone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the app, which is available to customers on the Boost Mobile brand, is called Boost Dealz, and enables users to interact with the ads. Users can indicate whether or not they like or dislike the content in order to dismiss the ad, as well as letting them click on the ad to engage directly with the brand featured.
With huge amounts of digital ad revenue now focused on mobile advertising and falling revenues from voice and messaging data, mobile phone networks around the globe have been searching for alternative ways to raise revenues and tap into some of the mobile advertising revenue that is powered by their infrastructure.
US firm Verizon made a similar effort to break into the advertising space last year with its purchase of AOL for $4.4bn, which it acquired largely for the firm's advertising technology. Verizon also launched an ad-supported video app aimed at young people in an effort to control more of the mobile advertising space.
Sprint's attempt to enter the mobile ad space is much more limited, with the app only available to Android customers, put demonstrates the company is testing the waters for new ways to make use of its subscribers.
"We though it was a very low-risk way to understand how this type of value proposition would go over with our customers," said Doug Smith, director of prepaid product marketing for Sprint. "Who knows where this could go. We thought it was important to start understanding consumer behaviour and the economics behind it."
Boost Dealz was developed in partnership with a startup called Unlockd, which manages the ad inventory and sells it to brands and marketers, and will share the ad revenue generated with Sprint.