Digicel to block ads on mobiles unless it gets paid

denis obrien

Digicel CEO Denis O’Brien says the telecoms company just wants a bit of the money that the big companies are earning using its network.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday October 2, 2015 – Telecommunications company Digicel says it will start blocking Internet ads on customers’ mobile phones, particularly from big companies like Facebook, Yahoo and Google, unless they get some of the ad revenue.

The mobile operator, which accused the tech giants of taking advantage of its network and keeping the money for themselves, will introduce the new policy in Jamaica before rolling it out in its other Caribbean markets in the coming months.

Digicel announced the decision to deploy ad control technology on its networks in a statement issued on Wednesday.

It said it would be working with Israeli start-up, Shine Technologies, to block the display and video ads inserted by ad networks in mobile browsers and apps.

The telecoms giant said the move would be a win-win for the company and customers.

“With ads using up as much as 10 per cent of a customers’ data plan allowance, this move will allow customers to browse the mobile web and apps without interruption from unwanted advertising messages,” the statement said.

“Digicel is looking to companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook to enter into revenue sharing agreements with it so that this money in turn can be reinvested in network deployment and ultimately the bridging of the digital divide.

Currently, these companies do not pay to make use of the network and the services they provide on it suck up bandwidth to make money for themselves through advertising while putting no money in.”

Chairman of Digicel Group Denis O’Brien was more direct in his criticism of the big tech companies that he said was taking advantage of mobile operators.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook talk a great game and take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all, but they put no money in. Instead, they unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves,” he said.

“That’s unacceptable and we, as a network operator, are taking a stand against them to force them to put their hands in their pockets and play a real role in improving the opportunities for economic empowerment for the global population.”

CEO at Shine Ron Porat said his company was dedicated to “putting a stop to the abusive behaviour of mobile advertising toward the network operator and the consumer”.

Digicel will be the first operator worldwide to deploy Shine’s technology at the network level.

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