Ovivo Mobile, a British virtual mobile network that offered users free minutes, calls and data has shut down without warning and without explanation.
The company, which gave customers access to Vodafone’s mobile network for no fee by serving adverts every 10 minutes, posted the following statement on its website:
“Dear OVIVO Customers,
We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March 2014.
We’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support and friendship over the last two years.”
Vodafone provided network coverage to Ovivo as an MVNO (these are ‘mobile virtual network operators’ that piggyback others’ networks) with Ovivo paying fees in return. Although no official explanation has been offered by the company, some users suspect that Ovivo was simply unable to pay their fees.
Users who lost their mobile number can fill out a form on the company’s website to receive their PAC, a ‘porting authorisation code’ that lets users transfer their mobile phone number from one network to another.
Ovivo’s free SIM card gave users 300 minutes, 300 texts and 500MB of data each month. An FAQ on their website described their service saying “Whilst you’re browsing the web on your phone, you’ll occasionally be taken to OVIVO Now! – our portal with the latest information about your allowance and our service.
“This is a bit like an advertisement break on the TV, or in a magazine. To continue browsing the web, you can press the ‘Continue’ button at the bottom of the page after five seconds.”