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Free phones for all says Google chief

Google’s chief executive made a few enemies in the operator community this weekend by declaring that “your mobile phone should be free”.

Speaking at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, CEO Eric Schmidt said that while Google has no intention of giving away mobile phones, he does believe calls could be paid for through advertising.

Behind the claims Schmidt believes consumers shouldn’t have to pay for their calls, as long as they don’t mind watching targeted adverts being sent to them.

Speaking to Reuters, Schmidt said: “Your mobile phone should be free. It just makes sense that subsidies should increase” as advertising rises on mobile phones.

While his comments have drawn headlines around the globe, he’s not the first to envisage a future where what we see with our eyes pays for our calls. Next year, Blyk, a startup from the former vice president of Nokia, Pekka Ala-Pietila will launch in the UK and is, as far as we know, the first of its kind here.

Blyk says it is a “pan-European free mobile operator for young people, funded by advertising” but it is hard to see why it will only be young people using the service which will provide free calls in exchange for users’ eyeballs on targeted ads.

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