Econet Signs up for Shine Ad Blocking
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile provider Econet Wireless has announced plans to deploy network-level ad blocking for its customers across Africa, making it the third operator to sign a partnership with ad blocking firm Shine.
Econet, which boasts over 40m subscribers, plans to initially roll out the technology in Zimbabwe before expanding to the rest of its customer base. The technology is installed in network data centres, and blocks ads in both mobile browsers and apps.
Controversial ad blocking firm Shine has previously signed deals with Caribbean operator Digicel, which rolled out ad blocking for its 13m subscribers in September 2015, and UK operator Three, which has tested the technology but not yet permanently deployed it.
Econet hasn’t confirmed whether or not subscribers will need to opt-in to the ad blocking, or if it will be automatically implemented with an option to opt-out, nor have they stated how the move will be marketed to customers.
While smartphone shipments overtook feature phones in Africa back in 2015, according to Statista, there are still a significant number of feature phone users on the continent who will not be impacted by ad blocking as much. However, this means that an ad-free network could become the norm as more people adopt smartphones in the future.
“We are delighted that we have taken the lead in ensuring that customers have control of unsolicited ads,” said Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. “This will lead to quicker loading and cleaner looking web pages free from advertisements, lower resource waste in terms of bandwidth and memory.
“This goes a long way in solving the issue of bill shock resulting from unsolicited adverts. In addition there are privacy benefits gained through the exclusion of the tracking and profiling systems of ad delivery platforms.”
According to a Shine press release accompanying the news, ads served over Econet’s network were “robbing its subscribers of up to 40 per cent of their data plans.”