UK mobile carrier Three confirms a deal with Israeli technology company Shine that will allow the European operator to use network-level ad-blocking technology for its mobile users.
The deal will eventually pave the way for the technology to roll out across the other Three Group of operators in Europe that include areas such as Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and Austria. In the UK, carrier EE is also looking to implement ad blockers on customers' phones.
"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," says Three.
At present, Shine is the only company that offers network-level mobile ad blocking services. Most of its efforts are now focused on blocking display ads which include pop-ups, pop unders, basic banners and other third-party ad content which tend to interrupt the user's mobile browsing experience. One example of an interruption is when the ad would require the user to tap on a small cross in order to prevent the ad from appearing on the page.
Three UK further explained that its objective is not entirely to eliminate mobile advertising, but to provide users with more control, better choices and increased transparency on what they are really getting from the service.
"Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience," says Tom Malleschitz, chief marketing officer at Three UK. "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."
Digicel, the first carrier partner of Shine which operates in the Caribbean region, announced that it was launching the technology in September 2015. Unlike Digicel's approach, which automatically opted in its users to ad-blocking, Three UK will allow users to choose whether they want to switch on ad-blocking.
According to Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer at Shine Technologies, there is not a single Digicel user who opted out of ad blocking. He added that Shine now has 14 million users on Digicel.
Three UK may begin testing the system with a small group of users over the next couple of months in order to come up with designs that would complement the rollout of the technology to its network lineup. While the carrier admits that operations using the ad-blocking technology would be finalized later this year, the company looks forward to working with Shine to meet its goals in delivering a better and more targeted mobile ad experience to users.