Tesco Mobile can now offer you ads to take money off your bill


Everybody loves to save a little here and there, and now Tesco Mobile wants to help by giving you money off your monthly bill without you having to do anything – well, much – more than use your phone.

Tesco just asks that you look at an advert when you unlock your phone. It comes through a third-party service called Unlockd and it won’t be every time you unlock. The estimate is it will provide an ad every third time you unlock your phone.

If you’re interested, you can download Xtras through the Google Play Store if you’re running Android 4 software and above. You won’t be able to get this on iOS, but it will eventually come to Windows Phone.

Anthony Vollmer, CEO of Tesco Mobile, told TechRadar, “We’d always keep [adverts] optional. We’d never, ever make it compulsory. It’s all about control for the customer.

“It definitely won’t be for everyone – but for those who are up for it it’s a great option to have.”

When you sign up to Xtras you’ll be asked for a few details from Tesco, including your interests, so you’ll be shared the right ads relevant to your taste.

It all ads up

The ads appear immediately on your phone when you unlock it, and each is easily dismissible by pressing the cross in the top right corner. You can even save ads for later if you’re too busy to look there and then.

If you’re getting a phone call or the alarm is going off,you won’t get an ad served to you either. It also won’t serve you an ad when you’re half way through a text message. It’s just when you first unlock the phone.

It’s not all traditional static adverts either – you could sometimes be served articles from publishers such as The Sun or The Times.

You’ll then get £3 off your phone bill at the end of the month – you just need to make sure you’ve seen at least one ad a day for 21 consecutive days.


Tesco contracts start at £7.50 a month, so theoretically you could bring that down to £4.50 a month. It won’t cost against your data either – Tesco gives you 200MB extra a month for the service to cover what it estimates as 120MB more usage a month.

You’ll always save £3 a month, no matter how many ads you see. Matt Berriman, CEO and co-founder of Unlockd confirmed to TechRadar the company is looking at paying more to those who use their phone more often at some point in the future.

Tesco making a step toward serving adverts to customers is a boldstep when networks such as EE and Three are both investigating aggressive ad blocking.

Perhaps an even more interesting idea from Unlockd is the idea of a free smartphone without being tied to a contract.

Berriman said, “What we’re really interested in is smartphones coming out of Asia – especially China – are coming out as cheap as US$40. We’re now talking to different parties where we could say ‘here’s a free smartphone for six months’.

New ideas

“We’d say ‘pay with your credit card and we’ll only charge your card if you delete the app’ and after six months of ads you’ve paid your smartphone off.

Take a SIM from wherever you want and that’s a free smartphone. It doesn’t have to be just cash or data – it can be other things.”

Unlockd is also looking at the ad service giving you a discount on Spotify, Netflix or Amazon Instant Video. One day you may be able to receive a free phone without a contract and just use ads to pay for it.

That’s all in the future though. If you’re on Tesco Mobile you can start to save £3 off your contract by downloading the Xtras app from the Google Play Store now.

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