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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Advertising, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh

Adblocking to extend to mobile markets?

As reported in the press last week, the rise of adblocking appears to be spreading (read our earlier reports here and here). On 14 May, the Financial Times reported that a number of mobile operators are currently developing plans to block advertising on their networks. One unnamed European wireless carrier told the Financial Times that it plans to roll out adblocking by the end of this year.

The mobile adblocking technology in question was developed by the Israeli start-up Shine. Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine, told the Financial Times that he expects this development to have a significant impact on the advertising industry.

It is as yet unclear whether carriers are merely planning to offer adblocking on an opt-in basis to their subscribers. The alternative could entail a universal implementation of adblocking for mobile services. Free content made available online and on mobile devices is widely financed through advertising. Given this interconnection, a continuing spread of adblocking is expected to have a considerable impact on how content will be made available to users in the future, and will raise potential legal issues including net neutrality and unfair competition claims. The current net neutrality package in discussion at the European Council does not directly address this issue, creating uncertainty for telecom operators and OTT service providers.