Ovivo Mobile shuts down

British mobile firm Ovivo closed down its services on 19 March without warning, citing “reasons beyond our control” in a posting on its website.

Ovivo was a mobile virtual network operator that allowed customers to access Vodafone’s network for no monthly fee. Ovivo had an ad-funded business model would display an advertisement in customers’ mobile browsers every 10 minutes.

The zero-cost deals included calling, text and data packages for a £20 upfront fee, £15 of which would be turned into credit balance. Extra credit could be added by topping up.

The mobile firm had around 50,000 subscribers, according to industry websites.

“We'd like to thank each and every one of you for your support and friendship over the last two years,” the company wrote.

Customers quickly took to web forums to express outrage over the lack of warning.

“I think it is outrageous that I was on the Ovivo website only yesterday and there was no warning of this,” Mary Horan told The Guardian. “Very few people have my landline number, and I feel really frustrated that friends and family will be trying to get in touch with me and wondering why they’re being ignored.”

Here's what to do if you were an Ovivo customer:

Existing customers looking to keep their Ovivo number should request their PAC code using the online form on the company’s website. However, the company cautioned that “there is a high demand for this service” and the code needed to ensure ownership may take some time to arrive.

If you had already ordered your SIM card but it hasn’t arrived yet, you may be able to get your money back with a chargeback request. Complain to your bank/card provider within 120 days of the purchase and ask to dispute the transaction. Many bank staffers don’t really know about this procedure, so you may have to explain it to them.

If you have any Direct Debits with Ovivo, cancel them now.

PayPal is now allegedly issuing top-up refunds over the phone, so you can call them up at 0800 358 7911 (UK) if you paid with their services.

As for getting a new SIM card, this doc is a great guide to help you figure out what will work best for you.