Tesco lowers mobile prices - if you agree to watch adverts

Would you watch adverts to lower your mobile bill?

Updated: 
Tesco profit report

Tesco has launched an intriguing new mobile phone deal called Tesco Mobile Xtras. The idea is that you can opt to see adverts, deals and news when you unlock your phone - in return for lower monthly bills. It could be a brilliant way to cut your costs - alternatively it could be a real annoyance.

The deal is run in partnership with Unlocked, and has been launched with brands ranging from Doritos and British Airways on board - as well as content provider News UK (which publishes The Times and The Sun).

The idea is that every second or third time you unlock your phone, Tesco Mobile customers will see a static advert, details of a deal or some news or sport, before you get into the phone. In return, you'll have £3 a month subtracted from your bill. You'll also have an extra 200MB of data added to your monthly allowance for free - to take account of the extra data the adverts will use.

In addition to nationwide deals, the phones will also be able to use location services to offer you deals and discounts for nearby shops and services, which could prove useful.

Would you?

This isn't compulsory: it's something that Android phone users will be able to choose to opt into by downloading the Tesco Xtras app and signing up.

There will plenty of people who wouldn't consider this under any circumstances: they want convenience and simplicity, and having to click through adverts when they unlock their phone is one more hassle they don't need. Given that the average person unlocks their phone 200 times a day - so will see 30 adverts - it could prove too much for many people.

There are others who are wary of location services, so if their phone suddenly detects they are in McDonalds and offers them a discount, they are more likely to be upset than to appreciate the offer. The developers have made it clear that personal mobile data will not be sold to brands, but that may not be enough to convince some users.

Enthusiasm

However, those who regularly use free apps may well be more flexible. Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: "Smartphone users aren't unfamiliar with advertising on handsets – it's the compromise of many free-to-use apps – so it's likely cost-conscious customers will be happy to give this a try."

Whether they stick with the service, he says: "will depend on how intrusive they are, and how relevant." He adds: "Three recently re-ignited the debate about mobile ads by announcing plans to block them at network level, so all eyes will be on Tesco's customer base, and how they respond to having the freedom of choice."

It's not the only player in this particular field. A separate app called Slidejoy offers users cash for viewing adverts on their locked screen - and has been around for two years. However, by tying up with a network, this option could prove more popular. With 4.6 million customers - over half of whom have an Android phone, this is a decent potential customer base to start with.

We will have to wait and see just how open people are to seeing adverts on their phone, and just how much of a draw a £3 discount is.

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