Three signs deal with Shine to block ads on its network

by: Robert TriggsFebruary 19, 2016


Advertisements are a part of online life, but some are clearly more tolerable than others. Three UK and Three Italy are taking a stand against ads and are to become the first carriers in Europe to block “excessive and irrelevant mobile ads” on their networks.

To accomplish this, the carrier group is making use of Shine’s ad-blocking technology. The goal is for all the other brands in the Three Group to follow suite. The exact way that Shine’s technology will be implemented hasn’t been disclosed, but we know that the company offers network-level ad blocking rather than requiring users to install a browser or software. Comments from Three suggest that it will be deploying Shine on an opt-in basis.

Interestingly, the intention does not appear to be to automatically block all advertisements. Instead, the carrier is concerned that increasingly bulky advertisements are consuming user data without offering any benefit to viewers and wants users to have more control over what they see. However, Shine states that it targets all basic banners, pop-ups, and pop unders that interrupt the user experience to get past them, and doesn’t seem to run any whitelists of ‘acceptable ads’.

“Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network 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.” – Tom Malleschitz, Three UK CMO

Three is not the only European carrier looking to block advertisements from its network. Last November EE, the UK’s largest 4G carrier, started a strategic review of ad blocking and Shine states that it is in talks with over 60 carriers all around the world.

It isn’t just carriers looking to clamp down on overzealous advertisements. Samsung recently updated its stock mobile browser with support for third party ad-blocking tools, giving users the option to block ads right out of the box. This was met with a swift removal and reinstatement of the compatible Adblock Fast extensions from the Play Store.

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Ad-blocking looks set to become an even more contentious issue over the course of the year. We will have to see how big businesses that rely on advertising, such as Google, react to these industry changes and if carrier ad blocking will end up brushing against EU and US net neutrality laws.

  • boota

    i guess this is a play to get a hand on ad revenue. by blocking ads by default there could be a situation where an advertiser will have to pay the carrier to enable the ads.

    • boota

      also. this is bad in a net neutrality perspective, but 3 was already selling that out

  • Ichibanmugen

    Ironic for a provider which gives unlimited data :) I used to consume 60+GB per month on Three UK!

    • why is it ironic? they don’t want you using 60+GB of data at £xx per month, when they can cut you down to 30GB by blocking adds, but still charge you the same fee. It costs them money the more you use.

      whats more it now provides them the ability to be paid by advertisers to whitelist and let certain adds come through.

      • Ichibanmugen

        It’s ironic for Three as they were hugely promoting “all you can eat data”. I’ve even crossed 250+GB once or twice and on a yearly basis I’ve averaged 60GB a Month without paying a penny extra or received speed/data caps or warnings. As far as I’m concerned they’re the only mobile service provider which is making a difference in the UK. I can only dream of having the same contract here in Holland.

  • nebulaoperator

    I wonder how google will respond to that if directly ad blocking technology overlap their ads. It’s fact ads are more annoying and intrusive than ever. Won’t we have to pay for that?

    • Hans Pedersen

      It’s not about Google’s ads, it’s probably about ads on places like tabloid sites and such. The ones that auto play and keep running in the background or foreground until you click them.

      • nebulaoperator

        I am just having a wild guess. . AA have same guess at the and of the article. Developers will be fuming.

  • Cakefish

    Best news ever

  • mrochester

    Great progressive move from Three. We need to get ads banished entirely.

  • aaloo

    nice. great move. get google in the jugular :) but i’m sure if a company pays them for bandwidth, they will allow the ads through.

  • Roberto Virga

    I don’t think that when they say that want to block ads they mean the constant stream of SMS from 3 promoting their “special” offers, or the 3 telemarketers who call me daily.