Is it time to subscribe to a printer service from HP?

Ever since my dad brought home an...

What’s the best way of buying a phone today?

How did you buy your latest phone?...

MWC: What device highlights did you miss?

So, early last week I predicted that...

BlykWatch: Retired, no news, we move on

Last week we posted the last in our fortnightly series, BlykWatch, by Ricky Chotai. Thank you Ricky!

It started off promisingly — and it really did give us a brilliant insight into how the service was working.

Now, though… apart from complaining about the lack of data or the odd weird advert — or having a dig at their (sometimes variable) customer service, we’ve lost patience.

I was talking to Ricky a while ago and he was feeling like a bit of a broken record. In fact, it was getting difficult for Ricky to do much — in some weeks, it would have been quicker for him to do a cut+paste and replace the dates.

There’s limited value in Blyk. I think that’s my one-line summary. It’s a great concept but there’s a few issues. Firstly, Ricky — one of their biggest fans — still infuriates me (on a reasonably low level) by refusing to use them as his primary network supplier. He uses T-Mobile. And happily uses up his free balance on Blyk when he can. But he deals with T-Mobile. When he wants to be contacted, Ricky gives his T-Mobile number.

Samantha, our summer intern, used/uses Blyk as her primary number. But I can’t see that lasting. The fact there’s no support for unlimited or half-unlimited or some sort of decent data pricing is going to nail Blyk.

They’ll say no. Their research explains that most 16-24 year olds want free calls and texts.

That worked last year.

But when those teenagers and students are being told on every street corner (I’m talking adverts) that they should be checking their Facebook on their mobile by the likes of the mighty Vodafone — with 18 million customers in the UK… there’s going to be limited value in Blyk as it stands.

I really like the ROI they can deliver to advertisers. That’s going to keep some revenue coming in.

But will Blyk ever reach 5 million customers? No. Will they ever get to 1 million? Yes, with a bit of manipulation of the statistics. Dig deep and work out exactly how many customers are actually connected and using the Blyk service as their primary means of communication… and how many will continue to do so when they ‘grow up’ and can afford a contact and demand a swanky handset?

Some will continue to use the service. It’ll carry on I’m sure.

But I think the excitement and the future is limited.

The moment I heard Jonathan MacDonald had quit them, well then. That was it for me. He’s now telling the Soho and Madison Avenue types (via Ogilvy) how to handle mobile advertising. Jonathan’s a smart cookie. I suspect he’s feeling the same way about Blyk as we are here at MIR.

We’re not hostile to Blyk. We’re just over it, now. Good luck to them!

But there’s no more BlykWatches coming.

They could set the marketplace alight if they made it free. Entirely free. Fair use policy. Cut off the folk who get ridiculous but let the normobs use them at no cost. Free would stop Ricky from using T-Mobile. That’ll get attention and a degree of loyalty.

(Ricky’s going to be doing some other stuff for us.)


  1. I just wanted to add, a massive thanks to any staff members at blyk who helped me setting up or answering questions. I have throughly enjoyed writing up my expieraces with Blyk and as Ewan said all the luck in the world to them!

  2. Sorry to see it go but I completely understand why it went.

    Shame man – talk about missing out on a MASSIVE opportunity.

    But it seems that's what Blyk seems to be about; they've let some sharp minds slip through their fingers, from the outside looking in anyway.

    Looking forward to your next project Ricky.

  3. I also think that Blyk is suffering from the fact that for many people free is not quite enough. Ewan, when you talk about offering it completely free – what you really mean is adding functionality to the offering ie data, or email or … whatever they want. In that situation more people would be willing to receive the ads and engage with Blyk.

    If you can only offer free (and even a limited version of free), then you are only going to attract users like Ricky who see it as a nice add-on to their existing package.

  4. The day had to come didn't it?

    Blyk, brilliant idea, but hopelessly flawed. The innovation and brilliance is lost through a constant venture to act cool and young.

    Above all, they have neglected research which would have told them more than enough about their members – such as the want/need for data, and also Young people's views on Customer Services. Had they reviewed these, and surely numerous other pieces of useful data, they could have implemented themselves better.

    Blyk failed me not because they were incompetent, but becaused they refused to admit fault.

    Maybe they'll work in a couple of years time, or something.

    Plus, I'll definitely miss Ricky's updates on this, but I fully agree with the adveritising issue.


  5. I made a huge leap and unofficially left Blyk today. I've binned my Sim. Customer service is useless, they really have little or no time for the end user. They are pushing their new top-up tariff far too frequently and there have been nothing but technical glitches recently. In fact over the weekend it was even impossible to respond to Blyks own messages. The novelty of ad funded texts and minutes wore off quickly. Good luck to Blyk for the future. They really should have aimed to remove the bugs and improve member care in the UK network before going Global. Lets hope they learn from their mistakes.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recently Published

Is it time to subscribe to a printer service from HP?

Ever since my dad brought home an HP LaserJet printer (version 3, if memory serves), I have been printing with an HP. Over the...

What’s the best way of buying a phone today?

How did you buy your latest phone? I'm asking because I'm thinking about what I should be doing. When I was living in Oman, I...

MWC: What device highlights did you miss?

So, early last week I predicted that next to nothing from Mobile World Congress would break through into the mainstream media. I was right,...

How Wireless Will Pave the Path to Neobank Profitability

I'm delighted to bring you an opinion piece from Rafa Plantier at I think it's particularly relevant given the recent eSIM news from...

An end of an era: Vodafone UK turns off 3G services

I thought it was worthwhile highlighting this one from the Vodafone UK team. For so long - for what feels like years, seeing the...

Mobile World Congress: Did the mainstream media notice?

I resolved this year to make sure I wrote something - anything - about Mobile World Congress, the huge mobile industry trade show taking...