Would you be willing to exchange a few minutes of advertising against data and “free” calls?

At a time when the major French mobile operators are bragging their phone plans every month, a French MVNO has just launched a new offer for the least intriguing. Named Blu, she simply proposes “[Saying] goodbye to [her] phone bills” thanks to her “first 100% free mobile plan”. A proposal that is obviously far from being a mere charity.

On paper, Blu is an offer that can be interesting. It is officially “the first 100% free mobile plan”. The principle is simple, we start by downloading an application on his smartphone (currently only on the Google Play Store), we create an account, we enter his contact information and we wait (a small week) as his SIM card Reaches his home free of charge.

Lightning in exchange for free day calls

If Blu speaks of free package, it is rather about exchange of good (?) Processes. In order to benefit from calls, SMS, MMS or data (all on the SFR network), the user must regularly watch advertising videos, download applications, share applications on social networks or sponsor friends In order to receive “lightning”. Count 4 flashes to watch a video, between 20 and 300 flashes for sharing an application (provided sharing results in an installation) and up to 480 flashes to download an application. When the SIM card is activated, Blu offers 1000 flashes to new users. Finally, it is possible to activate “The Sea at Pub (sic)”, which displays advertising on the screen of lock of the smartphone and allows to gain a lightning all the four unlockings.

Does not it remind you of anything? The functioning of this package is modeled on the economic model of games free to play. And as often in this kind of game, one must search the virtual shop of the application to find the rates in virtual currency. It is discovered that it takes 300 flashes to have unlimited calls or unlimited SMS or 500 MB of data for 24 hours. Count 700 flashes for the same services, but for three days and 7000 flashes to unlock a package including 5 hours of calls, unlimited SMS and 2 GB of data, among others.

And as in any good free-to-play game that respects itself, it is possible to buy lightning in real euros. The pack 1200 flashes costs 3 euros, the one with 4500 flashes costs 10 euros and the one including 7000 flashes costs 15 euros. What a better idea of a service that promises to be “free”.

Is this package really a bargain? When you know that B & You offers for example since this morning a package at 1.99 euro with unlimited calls and SMS and 20 GB of data, I am tempted to say no. But after all, I am in my late thirties, a job and a bank account, which lets me think that I am certainly not the audience targeted by the Blu. And this is perhaps the biggest problem of this package: since the application tutoie ceaselessly the user and it appears with a cute mascot and a graphic childhood, it aims very clearly a public Young and probably more sensitive to the “gratuity” of this package. This raises the question: is it better to pay a package to children or let them expose themselves to advertising to have calls or “free” data? Personally, I am not at all convinced of the morality of the matter.

A free-to-play business model to better stand out

As Numerama reports, Blu is not a new operator, but rather a new brand of a well-known French MVNO: Prixtel. The latter, which has existed since 2004, tries to revive today with a gamified offer, more able to seduce a young audience. A good way to stand out in a market that is completely bottled and particularly aggressive.

On our side, we ordered a SIM card, which should arrive next week. So we’ll talk about it soon.




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