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Ovivo – Free Mobile and Mobile Broadband Checked Out


In this review I am going to introduce you to Ovivo Mobile, an MVNO based upon the Vodafone network that delivers free Mobile Broadband, Calls and Texts with only a £5 up front cost for supplying the SIM.

But the £5 is not lost to you, as Ovivo add that as initial credit on your SIM which means that, in effect, the SIM has cost you nothing at all. This £5 can be used for any charges that apply out of the free allowances, should you go over them.

Ovivo is one of a small number of “free” MVNOs that use push advertising “… in a non-intrusive manner …” to your mobile device based upon your usage and location.  While this may sound a little bit Minority Report, Ovivo assure us that they protect your anonymity and there is no possibility of an individual being identified. For this Ovivo reward the customer with “… a generous amount of free usage …”  that amounts to 200 minutes, 200 texts and 500MB for Smartphones or 1GB of mobile broadband for dongles, MiFi, iPads or other tablet devices.

In their own words, Ovivo say this about themselves

Ovivo Mobile breaks from the traditional method of providing phone services. By signing up to our service, you give us permission to use your data for marketing and analytical purposes. Using this information, we will push mobile advertising in a non-intrusive manner to your phone. By doing this, we are able to give each of our customers a generous amount of free usage each month, with no monthly commitment or minimum top-ups for our core service.

Now that isn’t bad at all.  Full details are available on the Ovivo Mobile website.  Their About and FAQ pages contain a wealth of information about the operation and how to use it.

Who is Ovivo intended to be used by?

This is the first question I got asked when I started to spread the word about this proposition.  Some have suggested “light users” but I disagree. This is an offer of 1GB which is twice as much as the standard offering by Vodafone on its paid-for contracts. So a doubling of that cannot be intended for such light users.

Of course, if you are one of those who use streaming video a lot then any 1GB offering is not going to satisfy, it will not take at all long to exceed that and go into overage charges. These can be very high on some networks. With Ovivo this is 6p per 1MB, so it could mount up and eat into that £5 initial top up quite rapidly.

But realistically, very many people do not use 1GB a month, the mobile network operators have measurements to back that up. That may change in time, but for now that remains the case.  So my view is that Ovivo is for the use of any mobile user who is happy to put up with push advertising in lieu of paying the usual PAYG or monthly fees associated with regular networks (MNO and MVBO).  It is, perhaps, a little akin to switching from the BBC to a commercial channel such as ITV where advertising provides the funding – an imperfect analogy I’m afraid.

So lets turn our attention to actually using Ovivo.

Ovivo, the Practical Experience

The day after ordering on-line the Ovivo SIM arrived in a card CD envelope containing the SIM in its own packaging.

The Ovivo SIM packaging

This is a small branded wallet containing the SIM carrier labelled with details of the mobile number, the PIN and PUK codes. It is a good idea to retain this information just in case you need it later.

The SIM Carrier contains vital information

In preparation to install into the iPad you will need the SIM tray tool or a suitable paperclip to perform the task.

The SIM itself is full sized and will need to be cut down. Ovivo at this time do not supply microSIM. They do, however, supply a cutting template that you can use. Or you may already, like me, have a microSIM cutting tool sourced from the likes of eBay or Amazon.

microSIM cutting tool

These are quite handy to have as there really is nothing special about a microSIM other than its physical size. These cutting tools make it a simple job to punch a microSIM out from a standard sized SIM.

The microSIM cut out from the full-sized SIM

If you are going to use the template and scissors method make sure that you use a sharp pair. Also be careful not to cut into the metal tracks of the SIM itself.

You may be able to get the job done at a local market stall if you don’t fancy your own chances.

Ovivo expect to be able to supply microSIM in the near future. They really have only recently got started.

And so by now we are ready to install the SIM into the iPad’s SIM tray.

The microSIM fitted

The iPad, without a SIM has been used on WiFi up until now. Having been originally purchased directly from Apple it is already SIM-free, that is it will work on any network’s SIM.  You may need to get your iPad unlocked from your service provider if it was supplied by them.

No SIM – the iPad waits

Installing the SIM starts the iPad searching for the Ovivo network. This process can take a little while as the iPad scans all available networks as it looks for the correct one to attach to.

Searching for a network

The Ovivo network is supplied by Vodafone, and that is what the iPad finds.

Ovivo is powered by Vodafone

And so one thing remains to be done, that is to set the Ovivo APN into the mobile device. This is easily done on the iPad in Settings. You are now ready to start using that free 1GB of data.

Setting the Ovivo APN

The speed of use matches that of the parent network (Vodafone), there appears to be no penalty in using the Ovivo MVNO in this respect.

Surfing the web for free with Ovivo

The Advertising

At the time of writing I had only encountered one single push advertisement. It was delivered in response to a URL that I had entered into the iPad. Having seen it I pressed a button supplied on the push page and the website that I had requested then appeared. It was all rather seamless and not at all intrusive in any big way. Much less so than those annoying full-window pop-ups that can occur on some websites.

I could live with that easily enough, especially if it is to cost me nothing in terms of cold hard cash.

From → Mobile

  1. Ovivo have changed their offer as of this week, please visit the Ovivo website for current details. But the headline is that the 1GB free allowance is now 500MB, still a very respectable lump on the basis that it isn’t costing a penny.

  2. veggiealien permalink

    it is further slashed to 100 MB now…its all tricks. don’t go with them. they port your number and you get stuck in. not worth the hassle. the deal only stays for a week.

  3. The 100MB is on the Smartphone “Ovivo Mobile Freedom Plan”, you’re absolutely right. However, the 500MB is on their “Ovivo Mobile Broadband Freedom Plan” which is the one that is intended for Dongles and Tablet devices (ie. data only).

    Full details are on their announcement page:

    And, to be entirely fair to Ovivo, they do say this about anyone who wants to leave because of the changes:-

    “ANY existing customer who wishes to leave Ovivo Mobile, may be offered a refund if they contact providing their full name/address and Ovivo Mobile phone number. They may state at this time whether or not they would like to port their number from Ovivo and a PAC code will be issued.”

    Lets hope the model they’ve launched is sustainable.

  4. gilbert clark permalink

    an ovivo data sim is not compatable with a prestigio 8″ quad android multitab i bought one and it wont pick up a 3g signal ive registered the sim with ovivo so prob wont get a refund so beware the phone sims are ok

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