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'Free' mobile broadband service launches in the UK

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Samba Mobile logo

© Samba Mobile

A new service has launched in the UK today offering consumers free 3G mobile broadband in exchange for watching online video adverts.

Samba claims to be Britain first 'free' broadband service, aimed at people wanting to avoid hefty data bills while using laptops, netbooks and tablets.

The company was founded in 2010 by Ben Atherton, Jason Barrett and Neil Patrick, after they saw the massive growth in mobile data consumption, and wanted to make things easier and more cost effective for consumers.

The service is based on a "simple exchange model" involving users watching a few "high-quality video advertisements" to earn credit for free mobile broadband access.

Watching just 2.5 minutes of ads per day, less than a TV commercial break, earns enough data to cover the average consumer's monthly broadband consumption, of 517MB per month, said Samba.

Users won't need to relay on a WiFi connection to access the internet while on the go, as the service is available wherever there is 3G access, roughly 93% of the country.

Samba has partnered with the Three network to offer the 3G network coverage.

Customers are able to choose which ads they want to watch and when they want to watch them. A battery icon displays the amount of credit that they have earned.

Around 7m adults in the UK use broadband on the go, but Samba believes that customers using its service can save an average of £10 a month.

However, there is an upfront cost to the service. Users have to register their details at www.sambamobile.com, and purchase a SIM for mobiles at £5 (including p&p), or a SIM and dongle for laptops for £25 (inc p&p).

Samba said that this charge "simply covers costs" and there are "no further" charges after this.

Atherton said that Samba is the "perfect solution" for people who want internet data on the go but don't want to be tied into long contracts with monthly charges and potential costs for excess data usage.

"With Samba you earn the credit watching ads at a time that is convenient for you and then have access when you need it," he added.

"It also marks an end to that hunt for a coffee shop, pub, hotel or library to get online - with Samba you can be online anytime, anywhere."

Atherton said that he wants Samba to be a "quality product", and the firm has already secured advertising from major brands, including Agent Provocateur, Sims, Volvo, Clinique, Nissan, Paramount Pictures, Xbox Kinect and Dell.

Alongside earning credit by watching ads, Samba will also reward people for clicking through to a partner retailer to purchase items. Partners already signed up include Apple iTunes and PriceGrabber, with more to follow.

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