UPDATED 3:15PM: Israeli ad blocking firm Shine Technologies took out an advertisement in the Financial Times calling on operators to ensure subscribers do not subsidise mobile advertising.
The firm, which hopes to persuade operators to install its ad-blocking software, argues that advertising eats up subscribers’ data allowance: “FACT: Mobile ads consume a substantial amount of the data Mobile Subscribers pay for,” said the advert’s headline.
“We call upon the GSMA leadership to take immediate action and work with its membership to expedite a unified position to Zero Rate mobile ads”, it added.
The advert points out advertisers “make billions in mobile advertising” and consumers should not have to subsidise their business.
“We also call all mobile operator CEOs to publicly express their pursuit of this act of consumer protection”.
The GSMA, while pointing out that it does not get involved in the negotiation of commercial agreements between operators and third parties, noted a rise in advertising that consumers are exposed to.
“Sometimes this advertising is welcomed by consumers, sometimes not and consumers are not always aware of the impact multimedia adverts can have on data allowances,” it said.
The GSMA said it supports initiatives that offer consumers more transparency and control over the privacy of their personal data and pointed to its own guidelines on privacy in app development for more detail.
It stressed that the association is not actively involved in any projects concerning the development or implementation of online ad blocking software.
A media report in May this year said an unnamed European operator was considering the introduction of ad blocking before the end of 2015. The report, which coincidentally was also in the Financial Times, said the software used by the operator was supplied by Shine.
Certainly, the firm’s website positions Shine as wanting to partner with operators. “Carriers can now stop Ad Tech dead in its tracks, protecting infrastructure and delivering an advertising-pollution-free user experience for subscribers,” it boasts.
It is unclear if Shine thinks advertising, an important revenue source for the mobile industry, should be paid for by operators or advertisers.
Actually, a number of operators, including AT&T and Bharti Airtel, have looked at zero rating content, including apps, as a means of promotion to subscribers. They have often faced criticism from net neutrality advocates.