Three UK to trial ad-blocking network technology

Advertisers should bear the costs of data-heavy advertising, according to Three UK, which will trial ad blocking across its network next month.

Three UK has announced that it will begin testing advertising-blocking technology across its network during a 24-hour trial in June in an effort to "revolutionise" mobile advertisements.

Three UK, whose network covers 98 percent of the population and carries 42 percent of mobile data in the United Kingdom, said it wants to save its customers from having to use their own allowance to receive data-heavy advertising that may not even be relevant to them.

"We believe the current mobile advertising model is broken and our customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by irrelevant and intrusive adverts which use up their data allowance and can invade their privacy by tracking their behaviour without their knowledge or consent," Three UK said in a statement.

During the opt-in trial, Three UK said it would make use of its network technology to filter out irrelevant, intrusive, or otherwise "damaging" advertising delivered to its customers. The mobile network also wants to work with brands and publishers to come up with more targeted advertising strategies.

"This is the next step in our journey to make mobile ads better for our customers," said Three UK chief marketing officer Tom Malleschitz.

"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."

Three UK said it now has the three fundamental goals for improving advertising across its network: For data charges to be borne by the advertiser and not the customer in regards to receiving advertisements; for customers' security and privacy to be protected and not exploited or extracted by advertisers without users' knowledge or consent; and for customers not to have their "data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted, or irrelevant adverts".

Customers wishing to take part in the day-long trial can sign up on the Three UK website.

Last month, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) revealed that for the ninth consecutive quarter, Three UK experienced the lowest complaints ratio out of any mobile operator across the UK. For the January to March quarter, Three saw just three complaints per 100,000 customers.

"We are proud to be the joint leader on this important measure. Keeping our customers happy is important to me and when there are issues, our goal is to deal with them as quickly and effectively as possible," said Three UK CEO Dave Dyson.

"We will continue to work hard to ensure our customers get the best possible customer experience on Three."