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U.K. carrier EE considers blocking adverts on mobile

ee mobile adblock
Image used with permission by copyright holder
U.K. wireless carrier EE might be the next organization to offer ad-blocking services, said chief executive Olaf Swantee in an interview earlier this week.

Swantee confirmed to The Telegraph that internal talks were in place on the subject on blocking adverts. EE should be able to block ads more effectively than third-party software, since it controls data traffic on the smartphone.

This is the first time a wireless carrier has favored the side of the customer on the subject of mobile Web advertising. EE claims the internal talks are asking if customers benefit from “more choice and control over the level and intensity of ads on mobile.”

Ad blockers already take between 20 to 40 percent of the profitability away from ad-focused businesses on desktop, and that number is rising on mobile with the introduction of ad-blocking on iOS. EE entering the fold would no doubt increase the amount of ad-blocking in the country, given that it is the largest wireless carrier in the U.K.

To many mobile Web users, adverts are nothing more than an eyesore that slows down the entire webpage. Google is trying to address this issue with the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages, which loads adverts before the user clicks, but that might be too little too late.

EE is in a difficult position if it decides to offer ad-blocking services, since it would have to decide what adverts get the green light if it makes an “acceptable ads” policy like AdBlock Plus. This list could easily become a product for EE, letting the carrier broker deals with companies in exchange for advertising space on mobile.

Meanwhile, Google is the creator of the operating system that powers over 80 percent of the phones in the U.K., and its relationship with EE might turn sour if EE starts blocking Google’s main source of revenue on mobile.

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