Phone firms test ads and free calls offers

The launch of telecoms companies offering customers free calls if they listen to ads is continuing, despite the apparent failure of previous attempts.

The launch of telecoms companies offering customers free calls if

they listen to ads is continuing, despite the apparent failure of

previous attempts.

US company Cortex Telecoms, which launched in the UK last month, is

guaranteeing customers free international calls if they listen to a

15-second ad every three minutes. The service, the first international

offer, operates between London, New York, Miami, Paris and Brussels.

Following a 15-minute profiling, customers receive a pincode and are

targeted with relevant ads during calls.

Advertisers, which include a New-York hotel chain and health resort, are

charged dollars 2500 (pounds 1553) for 4000 spots. Two Parisian hotels

are also expected to sign up and UK advertisers will be sought in the

new year.

But other similar launches have been less successful. Freedom Telecom, a

UK company offering a similar service for national calls, failed to

launch in September despite the promise of a pounds 5m campaign in the


A spokeswoman refused to comment on how the service is doing.

Freetalk Telecom Services, a UK subsidiary of US group DCI, planned to

launch in the UK and Israel last year, but no launch campaign has



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