Wednesday 31 August 2016 3:21 pm

Telecom firms look to watchdog for guidance on mobile ad blocking

Mobile networks are looking to the communications watchdog Ofcom for guidance over their plans for network-wide ad blocking.

Yesterday the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) published guidelines to clarify rules preventing internet service providers throttling download speeds.

Part of the guidelines – which are now left to be interpreted by national regulators – say telecoms companies “should not block, slow down, alter, restrict, interfere with, degrade or discriminate advertising when providing an IAS (internet access service)”.

This means ad blocking may not be allowed in the UK but could be permitted elsewhere.

Read more: Ad blocking is a blessing in disguise for the industry

Mobile network Three has been the most vocal over plans to bring in network-wide mobile ad blocking, which it expects to launch in six to 12 months. Other networks have played down their interest in ad blocking but have not ruled it out.

Ofcom will take a reactive approach to the rules – which were brought in last year ­– and only investigate instances where it feels the regulations might have been breached.

An Ofcom spokesperson said:

Ofcom will monitor compliance with the new rules, and look into any complaints received. We will consider any potential breaches as they arise in accordance with our interpretation of the regulation, and drawing upon the Berec guidelines to inform our approach.

Mobile network Three has been working to bring in network wide mobile ad blocking, which is expected to launch in six to 12 months. It's thought Three will continue to develop the ad blocking software along with Israeli firm Shine Technologies.  

The regulation allows for consumer consent over their ability to access services and the ad blocking services would require users to opt in. 

Read more: Britain’s entrepreneurs can look forward to a better world outside the EU

Shine – understood to be working with Three, amongst others – has been developing mobile ad blocking software that can be used on a network wide basis. 

Shine was not immediately available for comment.