Aussie startup signs deal to disrupt telcos

Unlockd in action: provided.

Melbourne startup Unlockd has just inked a deal with Lebara Mobile to give users mobile data in return for viewing advertisements.

Called Lebara Plus, the new service will cover the screen with a full screen ad every three times the phone is unlocked. In return the user will receive 2GB of data every month on top of their normal allowance.

For Lebara, the 2GB includes the data required to display the ads however, which Unlocked CEO Matt Berriman says will be about 80-100mb per month. So users will actually get around 1.9GB of extra data per month.

The service is targeted directly at a major revenue source for Australian telcos: extra data. 20% of Lebara users currently pay for extra data on top of their monthly plan, according to Unlockd.

Most telcos charge $10 for an extra 1GB of data.

In order to recover the cost of this extra data, Unlockd has to produce some very high value advertisements. YouTube ads for example, only generate about $2-3 for every thousand impressions.

Berriman says Unlockd has the ability to generate higher value ads because they can leverage location and time.

“Programmatically trading is one aspect, we’ve obviously got the ability to geo and time target,” says Berriman.

“Hypothetically we could say anyone within a 150 metres of a McDonalds store between 11am and 1pm, when they unlock their phone we could show a McDonald’s ad. So that’s a really highly targeted full screen interstitial that is highly valued commercially. And that’s how we are driving such significant yield out of the advertising.”

Currently, Unlockd only has ability to put their advertisements on Android phones. They will be announcing more partners, including overseas partners, soon.