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5.5 million Australians would unlock mobile phone to advertising (for a discount)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2014 – September 2015, sample n = 9,642 Australians 14+ with a smartphone as their main mobile phone

More Australian mobile owners could soon have the option of receiving ads on their smartphones in exchange for a discount or extra monthly data—but not all service providers’ customers are interested, Roy Morgan Research shows.  

37% of Australian smartphone users (14+) agree they would be interested in receiving ads on their mobile phone if it reduced their bill—that’s around 5.5 million people ready to be reached.

In October 2015, Lebara become the first local provider to offer such plans after making a deal with Unlockd, a Melbourne-based mobile platform developer that also recently announced expansion into the US and UK. After downloading the app, users receive ads every few times they unlock their phones—and get a discount or extra data in return.

So where to next for Unlockd? Nearly half of Dodo’s smartphone customers agree they would be interested in an ad-supported quid pro quo (47%), followed by customers with Lebara’s own network operator Vodafone (44%), and those with Amaysim (43%), Optus (40%) or Boost (39%). 

Smartphone users with iiNet are the least likely to be interested (27%), with interest levels also below average among those with TPG (32%), Aldi (32%), Telstra (33%) and Virgin (36%).

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2014 – September 2015,
sample n = 9,642 Australians 14+ with a smartphone as their main mobile phone.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Dodo’s smartphone customers are the most likely to be interested in opening up their phones to ads in exchange for a discount but, like Lebara, this would equate to only a tiny overall reach for Unlockd and their future advertisers.

“There are around 1.1 million smartphone customers at Vodafone and 1.3 million at Optus who could be interested in an ad-supported plan—that’s the sort of reach attained by the weeknight news on commercial television networks.   

“The future challenge for advertisers and their media agencies using this new, broad-reaching channel will be to achieve accurate and cost-effective targeting—and the only way to do that is to understand the people holding each device. Our suite of digital products evaluates the effectiveness of advertising across target audiences.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%