ROK in Ad-funded Network Move

David Murphy

ROK Mobile is set to enter the ad-funded MVNO market with a take-over of US-based Xero Mobile.  Mobile Marketing Magazine can reveal that ROK is in formal and exclusive take-over talks with the company, with the deal expected to be completed within the next two weeks. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Xero Mobile is targeted at the 17.5 million-strong US campus student community. The company plans to hand out Bluetooth- and wi-fi-enabled handsets to students, who will receive free airtime in return for watching four 20-30 second video ads on their handset each day. ROK Mobile Marketing Director Bruce Renny says ROK is primarily interested in the company for its ad-serving and ad-tracking technology.
The ad-tracking technology is revolutionary says Renny. It requires the user to click on the ad, which acknowledges that they have seen it and thus allows them to make free calls, so it is wholly trackable. It takes mobile advertising from passive receipt to proper engagement.
If the deal goes through, Renny says that ROK will look to launch ad-funded MVNOs both in the US and beyond.
This is not just about free calls says Renny. Its about the combination of free airtime, free video content streamed over existing networks, and ROKs clever data compression technologies. Taken together, this would present a world-beating free MVNO service.