O2 looking into blocking ads on its mobile network

The UK’s second largest carrier O2 revealed that it is in “advanced stages” of looking into blocking ads on its mobile network. O2 has over 25 million customers in the region.

The news follows a similar announcement by the UK’s largest carrier EE, which told the Sunday Telegraph that it is has launched a review into how it can help consumers restrict certain mobile ads.

O2 is reportedly testing technology that can block mobile ads on a network level.

O2 managing director of digital commerce Robert Franks told Business Insider: “We are absolutely looking at [network-level ad blocking] technology … We are looking at these technologies to see if they can help our customers with some of the bad practices and disruptive experiences that are happening.”

“It is not in an advertisers’ interest to spam customers or do things to create a terrible experience. If the way to raise the bar is to look at these [ad blocking] technologies, whether through a mobile network, or a combination of apps and browser extensions as Apple is doing to address some of the behaviors these [ad tech] intermediaries are executing, I think that’s fine. But I don’t see it as a polarized debate between ‘do you have advertising or don’t you have advertising’.”

The carrier is working with advertising agencies to improve mobile adverts and make them faster, more secure, and take up less data. O2 wants to ensure that those adverts continue to appear on the mobile Web, whilst ads affecting a user’s experience are removed.

According to Business Insider, the carrier is undergoing “proper testing” of ad-blocking technology with customers.

A spokesman for Vodafone, which has 18.4 million customers in the UK, told Business Insider that the carrier doesn’t have plans to create advert blocking service:

“Vodafone has made no decisions that ad blocking is a service our business wants to offer. However, we acknowledge downloads of iOS ad blocker apps do show there is some demand from customers to manage their browsing experience, privacy and data usage.”