Could small mobile operators decide the future of internet giants?

Digicel is the first mobile operator planning to block advertisements on their networks in the Caribbean from internet giants such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook.

This will force the internet companies to pay to access Digicel’s customers. The mobile operator’s decision to block adverts will add to the increasing number of ways in which ads are blocked. Apple have started to allow their users to block marketing pop-ups in their Safari web browser. In Apple’s App Store, ad blocking applications are ranked among the most popular in the store, which reflects how many users are aggravated with the numerous amount of messages that pop up when trying to update a social media status.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook… unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves,”

- Denis O’Brien (owner of Digicel).

Mr O’Brien suggested that if companies like Yahoo want their advertisements unblocked, they should provide mobile telecoms infrastructure expenses needed to deliver them.

Digicel is working with Shine, an Israeli start-up company, whose software prevents companies from delivering display and video ads to mobile apps/browsers. According to Digicel, adverts use up to a tenth of a customer’s data plan allowance and eradicating them would save customers money, (unless the internet companies decide to pay for their advertisements of course).

If the Internet giants decide not to cough up they’ll be missing out on over thirteen million subscribers that Digicel have over the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific. Will other mobile operators see this opportunity and follow suit?

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