Remember when you were actually forced to watch TV ads, and how these paid for the shows you watched? And how freemium games offer ads for much the same reason? Well, a mobile carrier in Australia is going to try the ad thing as well.

In an Aussie first, customers on the Lebara mobile network will be tempted with the offer of checking out an advertisement and receiving free data or mobile phone credit in return for their patience and interest in the ad.

The idea won’t deliver free data or credit just for being a member, though, with customers getting credit added to their account, which could be handy if they need to top up regularly.

“Many Lebara customers, who are heavy data users, will typically top up their data allowance half-way through the month,” said Michael Baxter, Commercial Director of Lebara Mobile Australia.

“Lebara Plus will give our customers in Australia the option of earning free credit or data, in return for targeted advertising.”

Making this happen will be a bit of Aussie technology pioneered by a company out of Melbourne, Unlockd. Available for Android only, we’re told it will work as an app, revealing ads every so often, as well as paid-for content that will help pay for the data and credit you’ll receive, with up to 2GB of data able to be harvested from being a part of the Lebara Plus program.

Phones and tablets can both gain the free service from the app, though Lebara does say that presently Android is the requirement, with the ads popping up when you unlock the handset. That said, you’re not required to click on the ads, nor are you forced to stay on the ads for a time period, allowing you to get past them the moment they load, essentially using them for all their worth.

Australians will essentially be the test market for Unlockd’s technology, also, with the company also set to launch the concept to a US telco next year.

“We are excited to help Lebara Mobile blaze a trail for Australian phone companies and help consumers get more out of their mobile plans,” said Matt Berriman, CEO of Unlockd.

“Australian customers have the first chance to use this technology, but by next year it will be available around the globe.”

Lebara subscribers should begin to see the app shortly when the functionality rolls out, with the technology working only for data now while credit earning will arrive from November 9. Currently credit and data boosts can only be used for one user per month, though you do need to spend at least $20 per month in order to make use of the Lebara Plus service.