Connecting with the mobile consumer could be about to get a whole lot harder if the network operators get their way.

Reports from the FT suggest that one European wireless carrier has baked software into its data centres which could block most forms of web and in-app advertising on the devices it hands signal to. 

That wouldn’t cover the in-feed advertising seen on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the carrier admits, but users would have the chance to ‘opt-into’ blocking a wide range of inventory.

The carrier has lofty ambitions for the free technology, made by the Israeli-based Shine, and believes its number of users could run into eight figures by the end of the year.

Stepping in

The move could represent a worry for businesses connected to the $100 billion mobile ad market, as valued by eMarketer.  

Ad-blocking software is currently available on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, although this is the first time that a network has intervened with a product of its own. 

Should ad-blocking become available in the settings of a device, it would save users the hassle of delving into their app store for a similar result. There would also be the assurance of having the software come from a trusted source. 

Creating even more worry are the reports of “several” mobile operators looking to follow suit with ad-blockers of their own. These groups, analysts believe, have grown irate at companies like AOL and Google being able to profit from reaching users across mobile without having to invest in the infrastructure required.

Software developer Shine also has power at its side through financial backing by Horizon Ventures, which holds connections to Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing. 

What do you think? Would a network ad-blocker work from a technical point of view? Share your thoughts in the box below.