However, move to tackle “excessive and irrelevant” mobile ads raises concerns about net neutrality
Three has announced plans to cut down on intrusive mobile advertising for its users.
The carrier has revealed a partnership with Israeli firm Shine Technologies to implement its ad blocking technologies in its Three UK and Three Italy networks as it looks to eliminate “excessive and irrelevant” mobile ads.
But the move has raised concerns about net neutrality, as websites which find their content being blocked due to adverts, particularly online publishers which rely on adverts for income, could refuse to allow Three access to their site.
Three says that it is not looking to eliminate mobile advertising, which it says is “often interesting and beneficial to our customers”, but instead to provide customers with more control, choice and greater transparency over what content they receive.
“Network-based ad-blocking is a more powerful and effective solution for customers than application-based technologies as it reaches a broader range of mobile advertising,” Three said in a statement announcing the news.
However it has not provided any further details on whether the service will be opt-in for its customers, or whether they will be allowed to create a list of allowed websites that can be displayed with adverts included.
There are also fears that Three could be getting around current net neutrality rules that say operators need to treat all data carried on their network equally by creating a paid-for ad blocking service.
The company says it has three principal goals in deploying ad blocking capability, primarily that customers should not be paying out of their data allowance to receive adverts, as these should be costs borne by the advertiser.
Three also says the new rules will help it protect its customers’ privacy and security, as some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent.
Lastly, it is aiming to cut down on annoying or unwanted adverts that do not appeal to customers, who do not want their mobile browsing “degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts.”
The company hasn’t said exactly when it will look to introduce the new blocks, simply saying that it will announced full details over the next few months.
“Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,” said Tom Malleschitz, Three UK’s chief marketing officer. “We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from.”
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