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Three to run 24-hour ad-blocking trial next month

Friday, May 27th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Three is to trial the use of ad-blocking software on its network next month.

The company said its customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with irrelevant and intrusive ads popping up on their phones.

What’s more, ads – especially videos – eat into people’s data allowances and can invade their privacy by tracking their behaviour without their consent.

Three has set out three ‘principle goals’ in mobile advertising and will be testing new ad-filtering technology in June.

It says customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts, that their privacy and security must be fully protected, and that they should be allowed to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them.

Three will be asking customers to take part in the 24-hour trial, which is likely to take place during the week commencing 13 June.

Customers who choose to take part can sign up at the Three UK website.

Tom Malleschitz, Three UK’s chief marketing officer 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.

“We can only achieve change by working with all stakeholders in the advertising industry – customers, advertising networks and publishers – to create a new form of advertising that is better for all parties.”

'Consumers will lose out'

Steve Chester, director of data and industry programmes at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK), warned that Three’s plans could have negative long-term effects for consumers.

“We're all committed to solving the ad blocking issue but disagree with Three's approach that network-level ad blocking is the way to go,” he said.

“It’s a broad-brush approach that the largest media owners can probably survive but not the long-tail of smaller ones.

“In the long-term consumers will also lose out, as they’ll likely have to pay for services that are currently free as they’re supported by advertising.”

Mr Chester said IAB UK’s ‘LEAN’ ad standards initiative, which calls for ads to be light, encrypted, ad choice supported and non-invasive, is “the best way to solve ad blocking”.

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