Three UK will go ad free for 24 hours

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Mobile network operator Three UK has announced that it will be blocking adverts on mobile websites and apps from next month.

According to the company, for a 24 hour period, adverts will be blocked from the all the user mobiles that come under this trial. The date for this mass blocking hasn’t been confirmed yet but it will be between June 13 to June 20.

This is probably the first time a mobile network has decided to block ads all across its network.

The trial would not be turned on by default for a random number of users. All the people who are interested in taking part in this trial can sign up on the company’s website. But Three UK hasn’t given any indication about the total number of customers that will be allowed to take part.

To make the blocking work, Three has partnered with an Israeli firm, Shine. This partnership includes Three UK as well as its Italian counterpart.

It was in February when the telecom company, which has over 9 million customers, announced its ad blocking plans. During the announcement, the company said that they are opting for ‘network-level blocking’ because this is way more effective than customers blocking ads individually.

Three UK has given three main reasons for wanting to experiment with this-

  • Customer shouldn’t be the one paying data charges for the advertisements being displayed; the advertisers should be paying this
  • Intrusive adverts that try to take customer’s personal information should be stopped
  • Customers should not have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts

Even though this is a trial and there are no guarantees of a full scale roll out, it has still caused concern among publishers that rely heavily on mobile advertising revenues.

Talking about ad blocking in January, the head of Internet Advertising Bureau, Randall Rothenberg said the ad-blocking industry was “[run by] the rich and self-righteous, who want to tell everyone else what they can and cannot read and watch and hear – self-proclaimed libertarians whose liberty involves denying freedom to everyone else.”

Three UK’s Chief Managing Officer Tom Malleschitz released a statement about the company’s trial and said “The current ad model is broken. It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance and can jeopardise their privacy. Something needs to change.

“We can only achieve change by working with all stakeholders in the advertising industry – customers, advertising networks and publishers – to create a new form of advertising that is better for all parties.”

EE also made some noise about blocking ads in November 2015, and said, “We’re at the beginning of a discussion internally and while we’ve no specific plans, if we choose to develop options they will have the principle of customer choice at their core.”

It will be interesting to see if EE will also follow into Three UK’s footstep and initiate a network level ban.