Archive for September 2012

Samba Mobile – seemed like a good concept but it's flawed

I have previously tweeted and posted about a new mobile service called Samba Mobile which allows you to earn data to use on a SIM that can be used in a dongle, mifi or mobile/tablet device by watching adverts through the Samba Mobile website. I first thought it was a clever and good concept, but while away this week and trying to use Samba as me sole mobile data device I’ve identified a flaw in their service, the following is an email I’ve sent to them today:

SambaMobile

I did text your support number earlier but have received no response so am sending this email to support@sambamobile.com.

I’ve identified a flaw in your service, which has actually cost me money.
I have been away from home this week and have been using my SambaMobile SIM in my Mifi device (battery operated dongle which acts as a wifi-hotspot). I had earned some data on my Samba SIM before my week away and while away had my laptop and tablet connected to my Mifi Device. While using the SIM to check emails, social networks and web browse to plan my week, I used the laptop & tablet on the SambaMobile.com site to watch adverts and earn more credit to keep my account topped up.

I was surprised how quickly the data was being used so topped up my account (£5 for 500mb) with cash aswell as trying to watch more adverts….  I was shocked and confused how I’d managed to use more than 1gb (gigabyte) in a very short period (over two days). I first wondered if my laptop or tab was running background process’ or doing unobvious activity that was using the internet…?

So I started to experiment, leaving my laptop and tablet connected & idle for an hour at a time. It used very little data (no more than 300kb  (kilobytes))  which I can measure on my Mifi, which has a display showing the downloaded data of a session. I then was able to match the amounts measured on the “data used” from the My Account on SambaMobile.

I then had an idea and wondered if watching adverts was both earning AND using data.

My suspicion was confirmed as using the measurement on my mifi along with the Data Earned vs Data Used on SambaMobile it proved that the service does not differenciate using the SambaMobile website as non-chargable data and as the SambaMobile streams a variety of video sources as adverts, incl YouTube and some of these display on my laptop as High Definition, it was actually costing me more in data than I was earning and explained why I had used soo much data in such a short period of time.

The concept of SambaMobile is a good one but this is a major flaw and defeats the object of an advert revenue operated service, when the same device/service you are trying to generate data to use for mobile browsing is actually costing you and in this case the money I’ve paid to use your service has been eaten away by the adverts supposed to be topping up my account.

Please review my account and details I’ve provided, revise / alter your operating model, warn customers that using the SimbaMobile SIM to watch adverts costs data (while you fix this) and refund the money back to my account as I believe I’ve been mislead and have spent money which I havn’t been able to use.

I look forward to your reply.

Regards