NORWEGIAN WEB BROWSER OUTFIT Opera has announced a scheme that offers free mobile internet in return for watching advertisements.
Opera, which has a cult following of 350 million users, will offer mobile operators the opportunity to team up with advertisers to sponsor periods of web browsing, for example, 30 minutes of internet time in association with Facebook, or one hour with Lillets.
Users of the Opera Mini browser taking part in the scheme are simply asked to watch a short advertisement from the sponsor at the beginning of the sponsored period, which earns them a web pass. Opera likens it to a sponsorship advert at the start of a TV show.
"Sponsored Web Pass gives operators a unique channel to partner with the advertisers and content providers who are already driving traffic across their networks, and helps both parties to participate in monetization of that traffic," said Nuno Sitima, SVP of Business Development at Opera Software.
"This is an excellent way for operators to bring new users onto the mobile internet while introducing them to new, easy-to-understand data packages."
So far, no mobile operators have been named as participating in the deal, but we might expect to see some announcements soon.
It is also worth bearing in mind that this deal will only apply to websites offered throught the Opera Mini web browser, so any who hope to use the service with apps, or using a rival web browser will be disappointed.
There are other alternatives, however, because although this is a first from a web browser firm, virtual mobile operator Samba Mobile has been offering a data-for-adverts SIM card in the UK for some time.
This news from Opera follows hot on the heels of a similar deal by rival web browser Firefox, which recently announced sponsored content for the first time. µ