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back to article Ad-funded mobile carrier goes titsup

OVIVO, a mobile virtual network operator that did not charge for calls, SMS or data, has suddenly closed its doors. The carrier has pulled down almost all of its site, save for a home page stating “We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March …

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Anonymous Coward

"...for reasons beyond our control"

Punters ad-tolerance threshold was a lot lower than anticipated perhaps?

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A worrying precedent

An MVNO going t*tsup has long been a 'back of the mind' nagging concern of mine, as having had the same number since the late nineties (albeit a '7' was added along the way), I'd be mortified if my number disappeared with it.

It's a little more reassuring that the Ovivo website has been turned into a PAC request portal only, but with presumably no way of chasing-up any ignored requests, and probably severely demotivated staff about to be made redundant processing them, I don't fancy their chances.

Are there any existing Ovivo customers reading this who can advise whether their SIM is still working today? Have you been given any more information as to how long it will remain working?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A worrying precedent

Incoming calls OK

Outgoing calls no-no

Prob the same with texts

No Interweb

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Re: A worrying precedent

Hmm. I guess that's marginally better than having been cut-off completely, but if it's your main or only phone, then it's pretty crap to have your outgoing services barred without warning!

Hope you get your PAC in a timely manner and that it all goes through without an issue.

As an alternate provider who provide fantastic value for money, have a look at giffgaff: mod edit, thou shalt not post thy affiliate link on El Reg Another MVNO, and they use the O2 network. They've been around since 2009 and have a much more sustainable-looking business model, so will hopefully be a safer bet.

PS: Yes, that's my personal referral link, and yes, we'd both get a 'bonus fiver' credit if you order and activate a SIM through it :-)

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Bronze badge

Re: A worrying precedent

On the assumption that either administrators or the upstream provider is in control then this preserves some small incoming payment whilst removing new costs. It may also be an OFCOM requirement (and if not, should be).

Indeed the role of OFCOM regulating what appears to be a blatant Ponzi scheme by MVNO is a question that should be answered. Mobiles are pretty important in many people's lives these days and there should be some better way of handling the customers of failed operators.

An obvious one would be for operators to lodge a bond covering, say, a forward month's worth of revenue to the network supplier giving time for people to rearrange their mobile supplier without too much disruption.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A worrying precedent

As AC mentions, still have signal and incoming calls currently work but everything else is dead.

But it was always going to fail, so i'm not particularly annoyed that they shut up shop - i (just) got my fair share usage out of it anyway.What's the kicker was the lack of notification or in fact any contact at all - they didn't even bother to email/text us, i had to find out from a third party who notified me of the website notice.

Luckily i've got a PAYG sim that'll tie me over until next week when i'll receive my new contract but i imagine a lot of people haven't been so lucky and will be without a phone for the weekend.

On the plus side, Ovivo have sent me my PAC code; was expecting the worst on that front!

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Re: A worrying precedent

Not even bothering to disguise your affiliate link *again* - are you as utterly thick as shit or what!

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Re: A worrying precedent

Just tried my Ovivo Sim - dead.

Thanks to the Reg for letting me know what's happened.

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Bronze badge

What a surprise!

Why would anybody not think this was a Ponzi scheme?

The early investors' minutes being financed by new users' £20.

The actual crash was well telegraphed. Going for more funding in early March. No intelligent outsider is going to put £4m into this venture. Then suddenly, without funding, the minutes, texts and Gb are INCREASED - that is any forward obligation by 50% making funding even more difficult. That can only be last desperate attempt to lure the stupidly greedy into buying a SIM.

Oh the ad funded bit? Well we remember everybody else who tried that don't we (Blyk?) and there was no sign from Ovivo that this was real.

If it looks too good to be true ...

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Re: What a surprise!

Well of course it was a ponzi scheme. What concerns me however is that it's amazing how many such schemes pop up with their creators seemingly believing the have a legitimate, sensible and workable business model.

Not saying that was necessarilly the case here...

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I understand that most of their customers were, umm, how can I put this politely ... tight-fisted old people who didn't use data and so never saw the ads, just consumed the minutes.

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Anonymous Coward

Not me

I had it on a SIM in a data modem on a Linux box - did actually work, when I tested it, but being used for SSH tunneling only I never saw any ads. I was also never shut off, which might explain why they went out of business - although I can't have shifted mire than a few hundred KB I imagine there were others who did.

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Bronze badge

Ouch - nasty for people who were using it...

Feel sorry for them, major pain in the ass - I have used GiffGaff an they were fine. I moved away from them because they changed how the top-ups worked, and we moved to a place were O2 signal was pretty hopeless. Pretty much no 3G anywhere unless in city centre.

Other than that - I had no problem with them at all.

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Unhappy

noooo....

My wife's number was due to be ported today between 11 and 6! here's hoping it doesn't.

oh and that also seems to have been a waste of 20 quid - boo

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Where was the money invested?

Bitcoins perhaps?

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Good while it lasted

I used it for about two years and Ovivo was excellent value.

My PAC code arrived about an hour ago, but as yet I've not decided where to go next. No rush: any number port won't go through till Monday now in any case: they don't happen at weekends.

GiffGaff is no good for me because of O2's dreadful coverage.

So it seems to be a choice between Asda and Three.

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Re: Good while it lasted

Ye gods! - what sort of a backward system do you have over there?

When I changed from Vodafone to Telecom NZ last year I signed the paper work at lunch time and my new phone was up and running by 10 that night (and it wasn't my job to seek any sort of code from VF, either) - you've still got all of Friday to get that number ported, should be more than enough time.

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Re: Good while it lasted

The PAC system works quite well, actually.

The way it works is you get a PAC from your current service provider (which only you can get, not some malicious actor who's trying to steal your number for whatever reason) and when you're ready (any time within 30 days) you give that to your new provider.

This has the action of (1) transferring your number to the new service provider and (2) automatically cancelling your old contract with your old provider.

The old provider has to give you a PAC code within hours of you asking (most give them immediately) and your new provider will carry out the port the next day usually if you want them to, or you can wait for your desired billing cycle or whatever.

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Bronze badge

For low users Three 321 is a great replacement, 1p/MB data, 3p/min for calls. 3p to loads of other countries landlines too if you use Three's short codes access. Also Feel Like Home (= unbelievably low roaming bills) for a list of countries that includes Italy and USA. Just a pity no tethering whatsoever on Three pay as you go.

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