Hot on the heels of the demise of Ovivo Mobile, ad-funded network Samba Mobile have announced in an email to subscribers and website announcement that they are to cease operations after 2 years in business.
Closing with immediate effect (albeit in a rather more controlled manner than Ovivo), the decision has been taken in light of 'high and increasing - and therefore unsustainable - data costs', which we imagine are exacerbated by low and falling revenue from advertising and a difficult environment for finding new and innovative ways to fund the service at no cost to the users.
The announcement comes out of the blue for customers, however Samba point out that they have been in negotiations with their wholesale data partners trying to cut the right deal to continue, but unfortunately this has not been possible. Data costs are paid for in advance and without an agreement in place, the service has to close with immediate effect.
It is import to note that although the service is finishing, the company is not going into liquidation - as such all Samba customers who bought a SIM or Dongle in April 2014 will receive a full refund into the PayPal account that was used to pay for the original Samba order. If this is you, you should receive your refund by Thursday 1st May 2014.
In addition, Samba customers who bought a cash top-up that has not expired will be refunded for any unused data on their top-up. This too will be paid into the PayPal account that was used to pay for the top-up by the date above. Note that no money will be paid for Samba credit that was earned from watching ads.
It's a sad state of affairs and leaves low-usage customers looking for a free deal out of options. We'll be rounding up the best deals to switch to in a forthcoming post but if you're a Samba Mobile user (or indeed an Ovivo Mobile user), let us know your plans!