Three is about to introduce mobile ad blocking

Three UK
Three UK

Three has announced it will be the first major European network to bring in ad blocking on a network level.

The network has made a deal with an Israeli company called Shine that will bring mobile ad-blocking tech to the UK and Italy soon. It will then roll out to other countries "rapidly".

Three UK's chief marketing officer, Tom Malleschitz said, "Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience."

It seems it won't be all adverts, though. The press release reads, "Customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them, and not to have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts."

At the moment it's unclear what is an intrusive advert and it will probably be up to Three to decide what should be blocked.

First one to act

Because this is just on the network level, it means it won't block ads over Wi-Fi and will instead only block ads over mobile internet.

According to Malleschitz, there are a few reasons for Three to make the move to ad blocking, including that customers already pay for data and therefore shouldn't have to use it to load ads.

It is also worried some adverts are trying elicit customer information without their knowledge, and Three wants customers to only receive relevant advertising.

"These goals 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. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from."

EE and O2 have both previously expressed interest in blocking adverts on their networks, but this is the first time a UK network has acted on it.

Many digital publishers who are already struggling with people blocking adverts on smartphones will no doubt be uncomfortable about Three's decision.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.