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Rebtel Calls Time On Its Polish Mobile Business

Swedish mobile operator Rebtel, who launched ‘the world’s 1st free mobile plan’ in Wrocław earlier this year, have announced that they are pulling out of Poland. 

Back in March, Rebtel introduced itself to Wrocław in a series of ‘funny’ adverts that poked fun at the difficulty some foreigners have pronouncing the city.

The operator offered its users unlimited calls and texts every month, plus 1gb of data – all absolutely free. However, Rebtel’s customer’s did of course need to top-up to use more the 1gb free data limit.

Given the price of those data packages, even the average mobile phone user found themselves spending similar money (or even more) than on some of the standard packages provided by other operators. 

This was particularly true of the younger customers that Rebtel enthusiastically tried to woo via their witty marketing campaigns. When you add in the fact that some phones can now use two sim cards, getting customers to purchase expensive data packages must have been tough for Rebtel.

Presumably that has been one of the factors in the company deciding to call time on their operations in Poland, which was officially announced yesterday.

Rebtel customers now have under a month to switch their number to another operator. If they do not do so in time, their number will be ‘de-registered’ and made available to others.

Rather embarrassingly for Rebtel, a doomsday prediction mentioned in one of their adverts has actually materialised. 

In the ad a member of the Rebtel team claims “the company will likely be out of business in  6-9 months”. The CEO in the ad replies by suggesting that won’t happen because “they’ll put a cap on it” (by limiting the service to 10,000 customers).  The board member is then informed that he’s fired and should “f*ck  off”. 

Amusingly, it has turned out that the employee in the ad was completely in the right. Although Rebtel’s international calling business is still alive, they have called time on their Wrocław experiment within the 6-9 month window stated in the ad. 

Gregor Gowans

The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.

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