Opera Software announced a variation of its Web Pass service, adding a new ad-sponsored option to the technology that lets carriers grant people free access to the Net.
Opera Web Pass already was available as a way to let people use the Net with some restrictions -- a limited time, or a limited number of services, for example. The idea was that people who might not have the money to sign up for a full-on subscription would be willing to pay an operator for short-term access.
The Sponsored Web Pass option means they could get that access in exchange for watching an ad, Opera said Friday, just before the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona that focuses on mobile and operator issues.
The service is a new aspect of projects intended to get more people using the Net. For example, travelers at the Minneapolis St.-Paul International Airport can get free Wi-Fi access in exchange for watching an ad. And those paying for T-Mobile GoSmart Mobile service get free Facebook access, even if they don't have a data plan.
Here's how Opera describes its new option:
All the user has to do is to is watch a short advertisement from the sponsor before continuing to their content, similar to the way an ad from a sponsor airs before the start of a TV program. Users are then free to engage with the content in their Web Pass for its entire duration.
When the Sponsored Web Pass expires, users are given a soft landing with the option to continue browsing after purchasing a paid Web Pass, or to re-engage with different sponsors and continue browsing at no charge. Opera's Sponsored Web Pass now allows operators to increase their revenues from data services by enabling their participation in ad revenue monetization.