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O2 set to introduce mobile ad blocking at network level

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O2

UK mobile network O2 may soon block mobile advertisements at a network level.

In an interview with Business Insider, O2 executives said the firm was in “well advanced” stages of identifying the technologies needed to insulate users from annoying ads.

Tests are ongoing, but O2 may decide to go a step further and give users additional opportunities to install ad blocking apps and browser extensions.

The company’s manager of digital commerce Robert Franks said: "We are absolutely looking at [network-level ad blocking] technology. We are holding ourselves to the highest standards with our own advertising.

We are looking at these technologies to see if they can help our customers with some of the bad practices and disruptive experiences that are happening."

The move would help users concern their monthly data allowances, but isn’t likely to be welcomed by publishers with an ad-focused business model.

Ad blocking is becoming much more mainstream both on mobile and desktop platforms, with millions of people seeking to cut out the clutter and streamline their web experience.

Internet service providers like Yahoo are pushing back against the trend in order to protect their ad revenue.

Meanwhile, Rival network EE is also considering a strategy to restrict mobile ads and improve the experience for customers.

The company’s CEO Olaf Swantee told the Sunday Telegraph the situation was "not about ad blocking, but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive."

Of course O2 is about to be snapped up by rival UK network Three, so any changes the company makes may have ramifications once the deal is complete.

See also: Three-O2 Deal: Is it good for consumers?

Would you welcome network-level ad blocking on your O2 smartphone? Share your thoughts below.

chaosdefinesorder

November 26, 2015, 9:43 am

I wonder how much of an impact ad-blocking will have on their network capacity once they are no longer serving images and animations quite so much?

I wouldn't be surprised if this was their main motivation and the PR arm thought of spinning it about consumer choice for press releases...

toboev

November 28, 2015, 10:01 am

And likely they are keen to become the gatekeeper for advertising. Advertisers would have to pay the toll to get through.

And yes, they can dress the whole thing up as a customer champion.

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