Shine and mobile carrier Econet wireless have struck a partnership to bring network-level ad blocking to 40 million subscribers across Africa.
The ad tech company has struck a similar agreement as to one it inked with Three that resulted in network level blocking tests in Europe and criticism from ad-supported behemoths such as Google, AOL and Yahoo. But in a further blow, unlike the Three deal, where European users had to opt-in, it will be turned on by default for all Econet subscribers
The company claims will save up to 40 per cent of its users’ data plans.
It will start in Zimbabwe (where there are about 10 million subscribers), followed by Burundi, South Africa and Lesotho although there are no firm dates set.
Shine chief executive and co-founder Ron Porat, said: "We are proud to be able to bring the benefits of ad blocking to all of Econet’s subscribers. AdTech abuse is a global phenomenon, and in Africa in particular, it is devastating to consumers’ limited data plans."
Douglas Mboweni, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, added: “We are delighted that we have taken the lead in ensuring that customers have control of unsolicited ads. This will lead to quicker loading and cleaner looking web pages free from advertisements, lower resource waste in terms of bandwidth and memory.
He also underlined Cumii International’s role in brokering the deal. Zimbabwe will be the first region to receive the ad barrier with other markets to follow concurrently.
It will also raise the hackles of execs at Facebook - which has been on the attack when it comes to adblockers - after it opened its first office in Johannesburg, South Africa, last year in a bid to get regional advertisers on board.