European carriers are apparently working on deploying technology that could filter out mobile ads on smartphones and tablets operating on their networks, a move that could deliver a crippling blow to Google, Facebook, and other online business that might depend on advertising revenue.
At least one carrier has already installed ad-blocking software on its network and plans to activate it by the end of the year, The Financial Times has learned. The unnamed mobile operator is using technology developed by Israeli startup Shine, which would let it filter out ads, and thus reduce bandwidth usage. The startup is backed by a company owned by the chairman of 3, though it’s not clear whether 3 is the carrier in question.
“Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year,” Shine chief marketing officer Roi Carthy told the publication. The same exec told Business Insider before that a carrier with tens of millions of subscribers will make an announcement related to the ad-blocking technology later this year. At least one U.S. mobile operator is also looking into using the tech, though it’s not known which one.
As for Europe, an executive at a European carrier told the Times that it and several peers are planning to start blocking ads by the end of the year in the region.
Mobile advertising is becoming a bigger and bigger business, recent reports have shown, and Google certainly won’t be happy to see carriers prevent its ads from showing up on smartphones and tablets. The unnamed carrier looking to ban ads on its network is apparently interested in forcing Google’s hand and convince the Search giant to share ad-revenue.
On the other hand, blocking ads might not be an easy task for any carrier, The Verge points out. Regardless of what Shine’s software can offer, carriers will still have to abide to net neutrality rules both in the U.S. and Europe, and removing ads from websites might violate them.