You have possibly not heard of Ovivo, however an estimated 50,000 users in the UK got a nasty surprise last night when the virtual mobile phone network ceased; with no warning.

Ovivo is (was) a UK based 'mobile virtual network operator' using the Vodafone network. There was no monthly service fee and competitive call rates. However Ovivo users had to agree to watch adverts in their web browser periodically.

Yesterday, 19 March, the firm closed its Facebook and Twitter accounts and shutdown the website with a simple message:

OVIVO website message

OVIVO website message

There has been no further news.

It was an interesting, and perhaps odd, business model. Ovivo, launched in 2011, was part funded by crowdfunding users via Crowdcube. The process was oversubscribed and over £400,000 was raised with the promise of 20% equity stake in the firm.

I suspect their equity is worthless now!

There are currently 22 mobile virtual network operators in the UK. The more common ones include: Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Giffgaff, Virgin Mobile, Talk Talk -- all of whom piggyback onto one of the four UK mobile networks.

Have you been affected by the Ovivo shutdown?

site by DAJ