Klaus Vedfelt—Getty Images
By Kerry Close
January 26, 2016

For some smartphone users, mobile ads are about to change from an unwanted nuisance into a way to save on monthly wireless bills.

Sprint Corp. will offer prepaid customers on its Boost Mobile brand the option to save $5 on their cell phone bills in exchange for viewing advertisements, the Wall Street Journal reported. The deal is only available to Android users, who must download the “Boost Dealz” app from the Android Play store. The app will then show the users ads that cover their home screen as soon as they unlock their smartphones.

Users can dismiss the ads by indicating whether they like or dislike the content, and of course you can click on the ad to engage with the brand if you want. There is also the option to delete the app at any time.

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Sprint’s partner in the app is the mobile platform Unlockd, which will manage the ad inventory and sell it to brands and marketers. The companies will split the generated advertising revenue that exceeds the $5 that goes to each customer’s bill.

More than 50% of all digital ad spending in 2015—amounting to about $30.5 billion—was on mobile. Sprint is not the only carrier trying to break into that market. In 2015, Verizon paid $4.4 billion for AOL, largely for its advertising technology. In October of that year, it launched go90, an ad-supported video app geared toward millennials.

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If the deal goes well, Sprint says it may expand the offer the app to more customers, or increase discounts on existing customers’ wireless bills.

“Who knows where this could go,” Doug Smith, director of Sprint’s prepaid product marketing, told the Journal. “We thought it was important to start understanding consumer behavior and the economics behind it.”

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