Phone Carriers Asked to Block Ads From Consumers' Data Charges

Ad Blocker Buys Full-Page Ad in FT to Push 'Zero-Rating' Mobile Ads

By Published on .

An ad-blocking company used a full-page ad in Monday's Financial Times to target yet another aspect of digital advertising that consumers might not appreciate: the impact of ad tech on their mobile-phone bills.

"Mobile ads consume 50% of the data mobile subscribers pay for," the ad says. "Advertisers make billions in mobile advertising. Consumers should not have to subsidize their business."

Ad-blocking companies have been calling consumers' attention to the clutter of online advertising and, perhaps more damaging, the longer loading times associated with its tracking and targeting systems. Blaming ads for sapping data plans could encourage interest in mobile ad blockers, already the focus of a press boomlet as Apple prepares to expand support for the technology on iPhones.

Monday's ad, bought by the Israeli ad-blocking company Shine, asks carriers and the mobile trade group GSMA to support "zero rating," the practice of not charging customers for certain data, in the case of advertising. That would mean charging someone else for the data consumed by tracking consumers, targeting ads and loading them.

A Deutsche Telekom executive recently argued on LinkedIn that companies such as Google and Facebook should foot the bill for mobile ad data, but deleted the post, the Financial Times reported last month.

Shine works somewhat differently than other ad blockers, offering carriers a piece of ad-blocking software to implement as they see fit. Carriers can offer customers the ad blocking as a premium product, as an opt-in, or in a number of other ways. Shine doesn't currently operate in the U.S.

The GSMA is the London-based trade group of mobile operators that puts on the massive Mobile World Congress each year.