UK MOBILE OPERATOR O2 has confirmed that, like EE, it's exploring the potential of blocking adverts across its mobile network.
The company told Business Insider that it is in the "well advanced" stages of looking into technology that would allow its 25 million customers to filter out adverts as O2 looks to improve the quality of ads served across the industry.
Not all ads would be blocked, but O2 would look to get rid of those that interrupt mobile browsing, eat up data allowances, and put a strain on its own network infrastructure.
Robert Franks, O2's managing director of digital commerce, told the publication: "We are absolutely looking at [network-level ad-blocking] technology.
"We are holding ourselves to the highest standards with our own advertising. 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."
This confirmation from O2 comes just days after EE admitted that it too might deliver a blow to the online advertising market by allowing its 27 million customers to scale back the adverts that appear on their smartphone.
This comes straight from the horse's mouth, after EE CEO Olaf Swantee told The Telegraph: "We think it's important that, over time, customers start to be offered more choice and control over the level and intensity of ads on mobile."
Swantee was keen to point out that the operator wouldn't consider completely blocking adverts, but would instead allow customers to choose the number and type of ads they see.
"For EE, this is not about ad blocking but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive," he said.
"Not all ads are bad. When a business gets it right, it’s appreciated and sparks a connection. But when it’s intrusive or crass it can drive people crazy.
"This is an important debate that needs to happen soon. That's why we’ve kicked off a strategic review internally to start considering our plans."
EE confirmed Swantee's comments in a statement, saying: "We're at the beginning of a discussion internally and, while we've no specific plans, if we choose to develop options they will have the principle of customer choice at their core."
Swantee claimed that the firm's plans are designed to get rid of annoying adverts, but a report from The Financial Times earlier this year claimed that multiple European operators are considering a move into ad blocking to take a swipe at Google, hoping that it will force the company to give up a cut of its revenues.
The same report claimed that some operators are considering a more radical approach to adverts, called 'bomb', which would see ads blocked across an entire network of millions of subscribers.
It's perhaps no surprise that O2 and EE's reviews of ad blocking come hot on the heels of the release of iOS 9, which allows iPhone and iPad users to download third-party extensions to strip out adverts from the mobile web browser. This includes add-ons such as Crystal, although it has since been revealed that this outfit is accepting cash to let certain adverts slip through its net.
One company in particular that won't be happy about the operators' plans is Yahoo. The web advertising firm recently announced that it has begun live testing of a tool that will see customers' emails blocked if the interface detects that they are using an ad blocker. µ
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