O2 might be about to block mobile adverts across its network

Ad-blocking looks set to become the new normal for mobile networks

O2 customers could soon be browsing the web free of adverts, as the company has admitted that it is in the "well advanced" stages of testing the technology that would see ads automatically blocked network wide.

According to Business Insider, O2 executives have said that the technology is so advanced that it will even block adverts before they are even served, so they won't be downloaded to users' phones (with all of the bandwidth usage that entails).

The news comes just two days after it was reported that EE was looking into doing something similar on its network.

While it might be welcome news for O2's 25 million customers, the fact that both networks appear to be close to introducing the technology will have advertisers and publishers a little nervous.

Competition

Of course, once one network introduces it, the rest may be pressured into doing the same in order to keep up with the competition.

Like EE, O2 has said that its intentions are only to encourage "best practice" amongst advertisers - and to weed out any ads that are judged to be excessively intrusive. Business Insider quotes Robert Franks, O2's Managing Director of Digital Commerce as saying:

"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."

As with EE's experiments factoring into BT's on-going acquisition of the network, O2 is also currently in the process of being purchased by Three - so presumably we can expect to see any ad-blocking advances apply to Three too.