Three to block adverts on your mobile? “No way” says EU

Three to block adverts on your mobile? No way says EU
Just to bring you up to speed on this one, Three wanted to block the adverts that keep most websites alive. It’s a tricky subject and one which has various conflicting arguments.

Mobile networks, when they first came to be, handled mobile calls. It was the most important thing they did. Then, as time moved on, it was texts and then pictures messages and data. Now we’re using the data part a lot, and mobile networks are finding themselves running massive data pipes in the sky. Networks are becoming “dumb pipes” even though they don’t want to be, and 4G plus streaming music and video services put a strain on those pipes. Each mast has to hook into a backbone, and that data connection into the ground and back to the Vodafone / EE / Three / O2 network has to be paid for. It adds up.

So, Three were looking to block the advertising which flows over the internet, and thus over their own network. Networks can squeeze ports, shape traffic and manage protocols, but adverts continue to flow over their very expensive and vast mobile networks to customers. Using technology from Israeli Technology company Shine, Three wanted to chop out the adverts. This would reduce the amount of traffic you use and it would reduce the amount of traffic they have to handle. Three billed it as an optional benefit for customers which would improve the mobile browsing experience. All good then, but let’s not forget that the ads are usually the only source of revenue for many websites. That revenue is used to pay for the servers that keep them online, so you can see the problem.


The EU has stepped in. They state that these network-level ad-blockers would violate net neutrality – the rules stating that all web traffic should be treated equally. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications tell us that telecoms companies…

..should not block, slow down, alter, restrict, interfere with, degrade or discriminate advertising when providing an IAS (internet access service)

So that, it seems, is the end of that.