Three has revealed that it will block adverts for 24 hours on its network.
The move has caused consternation among advertisers and news providers, but comes after Three said it had no choice to take action to prove that some ads are hampering its ability to provide a fast service to its customers.
But what does this decision mean for you if you’re on Three? And how could it affect what ads you see on your mobile in the future? Read on and we’ll reveal all.
What is Three’s plan?
It’s simple. Three will block all ads shown on its smartphones for a 24-hour period in June.
This is the first time that ads will have been blocked at the network level in the UK.
Usually, smartphone owners need to install a dedicated ad blocker to prevent them from seeing adverts on web pages.
How will I know what day it’s happening?
Three is contacting its customers via text to see if they want to participate in the trial.
If so, you’ll notice that web pages and apps that usually serve ads will not on the trial date Three chooses.
Why is Three doing this?
Three says its motivation comes from invasive ads taking up too much of its users’ data plans.
Three’s Chief Marketing Officer Tom Malleschitz said: “This is the next step in our journey to make mobile ads better for our customers. The current ad model is broken.
‘It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance and can jeopardise their privacy. Something needs to change.”
How does this differ from installing an ad–blocker?
Customers with ad blockers can choose to ‘white list’ sites which they don’t mind seeing ads from, supporting the services and companies they like.
By blocking ads at network level, Three is essentially becoming the gatekeeper, running its own ad network and potentially choosing which advertisers get access to its customers.
This could lead to legal challenges of Three goes further down the route of blocking ads.
Does this mean Three will block ads permanently?
No, that’s very unlikely. Thank of it as a show of power.
Three says it wants to work with advertisers and publishers to make mobile ads better (read, less intrusive and faster loading).
The reaction on social media from content creators can be described as annoyed at best and incandescent at worst.
They say that without ads, content would not be able to exist.
Essentially, users either need to pay directly for the words, video and audio they consume, or put up with ads.
What have Three’s rivals said?
Other networks have stayed quiet on Three’s plans.
It’s likely that having lost out in its planned merger with O2, Three owner Hutchison is making a play to prove its status as one of the country’s biggest mobile players.
It does have 10 million customers after all. It’s not what rivals networks do that should have Three worried.
Google, being the world’s foremost server of ads, is likely to have something to say about the plans and while they may not be made public, its thoughts are unlikely to be complimentary.