UK carrier Three to test mobile ad blocking next month

Back in February, UK mobile carrier Three announced a pretty radical change. The company had partnered up with a startup named Shine to remove ads from mobile webpages. While they didn't have a lot of details at the time, we're finally getting some clarification on this initiative.

Three is planning to have an entire day where they will block approximately 95% of all ads that would be seen on their network. It will be an opt-in trial for customers, and will take place sometime between June 13th and 20th. They have announced that their reasoning for pursuing this is threefold (of course it is).

  • advertisements count towards customers' mobile data charges, rather than advertisers shouldering the cost
  • some advertisers "extract and exploit" customer information
  • customers do not always receive relevant adverts and have their browsing experience "degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts"

So what advertisements will be blocked? Nearly everything that they can, it appears. Virtually all advertisements on non-social media sites will be blocked. What won't be blocked are pre-roll video advertisements, sponsored articles, and in-feed promotions on social media sites.

To start off the trial, the company will be reaching out to around 500,000 of their customers, and inviting them to opt-in to the initiative. If it goes well, they may expand that to more customers at a later time.