European carriers are planning to install ad-blocking software on their networks that would filter out ads on smartphones and other mobile devices. The move would expectedly deliver a crippling blow to Google, Facebook, and other online businesses that depend on advertising revenue.
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According to The Financial Times, at least one network has already installed the software and plans to activate it by the end of this year.
The mobile carriers would be using the technology developed by Israeli startup Shine, which would help them filter out ads and thus reduce the bandwidth usage.
Shareholders of Shine include Horizon Ventures, the investment fund of Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s richest person. Mr Li also heads Hutchison Whampoa, one of the world’s largest telecoms groups.
“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 FT. “If this scales, it could have a devastating impact on the online advertising industry.”
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.
According to a research group eMarketer, marketers will expectedly spend almost $69 billion this on mobile ads.
Initially, mobile carriers are going to launch an advertising-free service for customers on an opt-in basis.