Several European mobile operators plan to block advertising on their networks, a move which would set up a fight with internet firms such as Google, according to the Financial Times (FT).
An executive at one unnamed operator said it and several of its peer group are planning to block ads, starting later this year, reports the FT.
Operators have become increasingly frustrated at how hefty network investment is absorbed by advertising for which they receive no revenue from internet firms, primarily Google.
The same executive said the operator will offer subscribers an advertising free service on an opt-in basis.
But the same unnamed operator is also reportedly mulling a more direct move against Google itself. Codenamed “the bomb”, it would involve specifically targeting the search giant, blocking advertising to its websites, in an attempt to force Google to share ad revenue.
The story does quote Roi Carthy, the chief marketing officer of an Israeli startup called Shine, which developed the ad blocking technology in question.
“Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year,” forecasts Carthy. “If this scales, it could have a devastating impact on the online advertising industry.”
Analyst Dr. Richard Windsor isn’t so convinced though. In his Radio Free Mobile blog today he wrote that the rebellion against Google’s dominance is likely to fail.
“If all the operators in every territory install this software and all turn it on at the same time, then Google will have a problem, however this is exceedingly unlikely to happen. The problem they face is that users want Google services and I strongly suspect that this gives Google the advantage.”
Another mobile advertising firm which could be impacted is AOL, which ironically this week became the subject of a $4.4 billion bid from US operator Verizon.