“Three” start ad blocking

The mobile network Three has plead to tackle ‘excessive and irrelevant’ advertisement on mobile phones with a block at network level. This technology is now in its testing stage as a small number of customers are starting to use the new ad blocking features.

Three have teamed up with ad-blocking specialist Shine Technologies, who have said that they use machine-learning to perform deep packet inspection (DPI) inside the network. By employing “real-time analysis, artificial intelligence and algorithms,” the software is able to identify advertisements and prevent them from popping up, whilst ensuring the original web page remains intact.

Tom Malleschitz, Chief Marketing Officer, Three UK, said: “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience. 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.”

The company has stated three core principles when it comes to ad blocking:

  • Customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts, the advertiser themselves should pick up this charge
  • Customers’ privacy and security must be fully protected. Some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent.
  • Customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them, and not to have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts.

Even in 2016 when surrounded by marketing material, advertising is a conflict-ridden topic. Some will argue that advertising is a necessary evil, whereas others debate it can end up causing more harm than good when consumers are becoming intolerant to the advertising message.

Some other mobile networks are taking a slightly different approach. To the top bosses at Tesco, advertisements should be applicable and necessary to the receiver – and this stops them from being a nuisance. Tesco is using advertising technology from Unlockd to display the location-based adverts on a user’s lock screen. Matt Berriman, CEO and co-founder of Unlockd, commented on Three’s plans: “Three’s ad blocking plans are reflective of a much bigger industry issue. Telcos are after a slice of the mobile advertising revenues that they’ve created but currently see little revenue from.”

“Blocking or threatening to block ads is a topical way to get publishers and media companies to the negotiating table, but the reality is that ad blocking does not offer the value exchange that consumers or telcos are really both seeking. Blocking ads makes a clear statement of intent, but it won’t help to have any impact on a telco’s revenues or bottom line. Meanwhile, consumers, who have traditionally accepted ads where they perceive a clear value exchange (such as TV and radio) are clearly showing that for the mobile channel, the value exchange model isn’t quite there yet.”

How do you feel about the adverts that pop up when you’re browsing online? Do you find them interesting and relevant – or do you close them down straight away, before you’ve even read their message? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Further Reading

Boost to digital infrastructure

The telecoms regulator Ofcom will have its powers boosted by proposals in the upcoming Queen’s Speech. In the digital economy bill, it is thought that where will be a strong […]

How does Brexit affect me?

The votes have been cast and the decision has been made, but for many the implications of Brexit are still unclear. With one of the most searched terms being ‘what […]

Brexit implications

It’s the debate which everyone is talking about as it could change the face of the UK as we know it and impose radical changes – whichever way the vote […]