One of the UK's largest mobile phone carriers is offering to block all advertisements on its network for one day in June. Three, which carries 42 percent of the UK's mobile data, is planning the day of ad blocking to raise awareness of what it says are the limited choices consumers have when it comes to filtering ads.
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Three's subscribers can have their ads blocked for a 24-hour period starting June 13, but they have to opt in via the carrier's website. Three says it will be contacting customers to encourage them to do so.
The ad-blocking stunt is part of the company's multi-pronged approach to reforming Internet advertising. It announced a partnership with Israeli ad-blocking company Shine in February, which will provide the software for the ad-free day.
In addition to testing Shine's blocking technology on the network level, Three says it is working with the advertising industry to create less intrusive ads that increase customer satisfaction. The carrier also wants advertisers to pay for the bandwidth their ads use, instead of eating into customers' data allowances.
"The current ad model is broken," Three's Chief Marketing Officer Tom Malleschitz said in a statement. "It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance, and can jeopardize their privacy."
Once relegated to niche desktop browser plugins that stirred up an ethical debate, ad blocking has increasingly found its way onto mobile devices in the past year or so. Apple's iOS 9 includes support for third-party ad-blocking apps, and the Opera browser recently added a native blocking option.
A recent survey by research group found KPMG found that 44 percent of UK adults planned to block ads in the next six months. Their reasons included a lack of relevant ads, decreased performance, and using up mobile data allowances.