Hutchison-owned 3, which in February became the first major European operator to announce intentions to deploy ad blocking on its network, said it will begin to trial the technology next month in the UK.
In a statement, the company today revealed “the first step in its plan to revolutionise the mobile advertising experience”, following its partnership with Israeli ad blocking start-up Shine, announced on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2016, to deploy the technology on its networks in the UK and Italy.
3 said it will ask UK customers to take part in a 24-hour trial, which will “test the ability of the technology to filter out advertising that damages our customers’ mobile browsing experience without impacting their network performance”.
It will commence the week beginning 13 June, and UK customers can also sign up to take part on its website.
The company also reiterated its wider goals around mobile advertising, which is to ensure customers should not pay charges to receive adverts, that customers’ privacy and security must be fully protected, and customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them.
“The current ad model is broken,” said Tom Malleschitz (pictured), chief marketing officer at 3 UK. “It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance and can jeopardise their privacy. Something needs to change.”
Malleschitz said 3 was committed “to create a new form of advertising that is better for all parties”, which could only be achieved by working with “all stakeholders in the advertising industry”.
3 leads the way
Following speculation that rivals EE and O2 in the UK were considering deploying ad blocking technology at the end of last year, it was 3 that made the biggest statement in the market by partnering with Shine.
Shine claims to be the only company on the market offering network ad blocking technology for operators.
Along with 3, it also partners with Caribbean operator Digicel, and has told Mobile World Live that every operator in the world is now interested in the technology.
According to KPMG, 44 per cent of UK adults are planning to deploy a form of ad-blocking technology in the next six months.
IAB hits out
There is much debate around the best way to tackle the issue. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), the UK trade association for digital advertising, hit out at 3’s plans: “We’re all committed to solving the ad blocking issue but disagree with 3’s approach that network-level ad blocking is the way to go,” stated Steve Chester, director of Data & Industry Programmes at the IAB.
“It’s a broad-brush approach that the largest media owners can probably survive but not the long-tail of smaller ones. In the long-term consumers will also lose out, as they’ll likely have to pay for services that are currently free because they’re supported by advertising.”
Watch our panel session on ad blocking technology, featuring Shine Technologies’ CMO Roi Carthy, at Mobile World Congress 2016, here.