The head of British mobile operator EE has launched a review to determine whether the carrier should launch ad blocker technology that would allow its customers to determine how many ads they’ll tolerate, The Telegraph reported.
According to the report, EE chief executive Olaf Swantee said the carrier will consider options ranging from tools that will allow consumers to block certain types of advertising on the mobile web or in apps to controls that would allow customers to determine the overall volume of advertising they see.
Swantee said the move is meant to start a conversation between carriers and consumers about customer choice in an age increasingly plagued by intrusive ads. In speaking to The Telegraph, Swantee said the overall goal isn’t to block all ads, but to prevent a glut of them from overwhelming EE’s 27 million mobile customers.
EE’s move is just the latest in a massive pushback against aggressive advertising strategies that have soured the mobile experience for millions of users. In September, Apple began allowing ad-blocking apps in its App Store. Later that month, Caribbean and South Pacific carrier Digicel announced plans to block ads at the network level from reaching its 13.6 million subscribers unless companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo agree to pay ad delivery fees.
Many companies, which depend heavily on advertising revenue, have become alarmed at this trend and are finding ways to fight back both through the introduction of smaller, targeted campaigns and built in ads that avoid blocker technology, as in Verizon’s go90 mobile video app. Others have begun working with ad-blocking companies to secure the right to bypass the blocks provided by services like Adblock Plus.
However, as companies like Google shift to selling ads based on viewability, it seems the battle over consumer screen time is likely to continue indefinitely.