Mobile operator O2 UK, which is owned by Spanish carrier Telefonica, said this week that it has appointed Shaun Gregory as managing director of its media business.

Gregory presently holds the position of chief executive for the UK unit of ad-funded MVNO Blyk.

At O2, he will be responsible for the operator’s overall media strategy as well as building an advertising business, which is where his experience at Blyk will come in handy.

O2 recently launched a media business, designed to provide advertisers with targeted marketing opportunities across its mobile, email, online, in-store, direct and experiential channels.

Despite initial scepticism, Blyk has made waves in the industry. The company runs an advertising funded mobile service aimed at 16-24 year olds, providing free text messages and calls to subscribers who receive advertisements on their phones.

Blyk has also raised eyebrows over its claimed average advertising response rates of 29 per cent. Compared to other forms of mass market advertising this figure is phenomenal, stacked against a 0.5 per cent response rate for online advertising and 4.5 per cent from unprofiled SMS.