After the unexpected closure of m-commerce virtual network operator, Ovivo Mobile, customers were left in a state of flux.

The UK-founded business, which offers free services in exchange for ads, gives customers access to Vodafone’s network for no monthly cost. It is funded by advertising, which users agree to view every 10 minutes.

Despite having about 50,000 customers, the business, which is founded by Ex-Vodafone employee Dariush Zand, unexpectedly closed down on Wednesday evening.

A statement on its site said: “We are very sad to announce that for reasons beyond our control, OVIVO Mobile is closing down on the evening of Wednesday 19th March 2014.

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

Many newly stranded customers, including those awaiting cashback, soon took to forums and Twitter to complain about the impromptu closure.

Head of operations at TopCashback, Adam Bullock, said in response to the news of Ovivo Mobile’s closure, it has taken the decision to pay any outstanding cashback owed from Ovivo sim purchases, in full, within 48 hours.

“We understand that many of the 50,000 Ovivo customers will be extremely frustrated with the current situation,” Bullock said.

“One of our main priorities is the welfare of our members, and though we are yet to find out if the mobile network operator will repay the cashback funds still owed, we have taken the decision to pay any outstanding Ovivo cashback to members ourselves within the next 48 hours.

“The members that have been affected will be notified of the situation and we hope that this will go a little way towards softening the blow of this disappointing situation.”

Following the demise of the ad-funded mobile virtual network operator, hosted solely on Vodafone’s network, rival mobile virtual network operator giffgaff, which uses the O2 network, began attempting to woo marooned Ovivo members by offering them £5 credit.

Zand, who has also worked at the likes of Sony and NEC, founded Ovivo in 2011.

Notice on Ovivo’s website: