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Three is going to block online advertising on your phone

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The number of netizens running ad-blockers is growing, and Three’s latest move is sure to see that figure sky-rocket.

Three has confirmed plans to launch ad-blocking in the UK at network level.

The mobile service provider will begin blocking ads thanks to a partnership with Israeli tech firm Shine.

It’s not clear what time-frame we’re looking at, but Three plans to kick off proceedings in the UK and Italy, after which a “rapid rollout” will begin in other countries.

“Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,” says Tom Malleschitz, Three’s chief marketing officer.

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The company says it wants to give customers “more control, choice and greater transparency” over ads on their mobile devices.

However, it’s a move that will seriously affect publishers and advertisers, for whom digital ads act as a significant revenue stream.

Three has 9 million customers in the UK, which means affected businesses could experience substantial losses as a result of the move.

According to Three however, customers are forced to pay over the odds in terms of data charges because of ad-loading.

Malleshcitz says Three’s introduction of ad-blocking “will give customers choice and significantly improve their ad experience.”

We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads,” he continues. “The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from.”

The decision has sparked controversy, with the Guardian quoting the Internet Advertising Bureaeu as follows:

“The IAB believes that an ad-funded internet is essential in providing revenue to publishers so they can continue to make their content, services and applications widely available at little, or no cost. We believe ad-blocking undermines this approach and could mean consumers have to pay for content they currently get for free.”

It’s also worth noting that Three rivals EE and O2 have been public about the possibility of launching a similar ad-blocking scheme.

We’ve contacted Three about the time-frame on rollouts, and whether or not the ad-blocking is an opt-in system. We’ll update this story with any response.

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