Digicel, a leading provider of communications and entertainment services to customers in the Caribbean and South Pacific, announced today that it is deploying ad control technology at the network level on its networks across the globe to ensure a better experience for customers and to encourage the likes of Google, Facebook and Yahoo to help connect the 4.2 billion unconnected people across the globe.
Ad control technology benefits both consumers and network operators alike. With ads using up as much as 10% of a customers’ data plan allowance, this move will allow customers to browse the mobile web and apps without interruption from unwanted advertising messages.
Starting in Jamaica and rolling out to its other markets in the Caribbean and South Pacific in the coming months, Digicel will work with Israeli start-up, Shine Technologies, to be the first operator worldwide to deploy Shine’s mobile ad control technology at the network level. Shine’s technology blocks display and video ads inserted by ad networks in both mobile browsers and apps.
For network operators meanwhile, for whom bandwidth is one of the most costly considerations, 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.
Broadband has proven to be transformative in both developed and developing countries alike promising to improve people’s lives and livelihoods and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In line with this, network operators across the world are investing billions in deploying state-of-the-art networks. Latest figures from the ITU state that 43% of the global population now has some form of regular access to the internet, but there are still some 4.2 billion people who do not. And in the least developed countries, this number drops to a very low one in ten people who have access.
Denis O’Brien, Chairman of Digicel Group, explains; “This is about giving customers the best experience and about getting access to broadband to the unconnected and allowing them to benefit from the opportunities it affords. 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. 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.”
Ron Porat, CEO at Shine, explains; “Shine is dedicated to putting a stop to the abusive behavior of mobile advertising toward the network operator and the consumer. As the first operator worldwide to deploy our technology at the network level, Digicel is making a clear call for an improved customer experience. We believe it is now time for everyone in the digital advertising ecosystem to look to the future and start having a conversation about how better and sustainable digital advertising can be created to foster stronger, mutually beneficial relationships that are based on transparency and trust.”
[Editor’s note: In responding to questions placed to Digicel by TechNewsTT, T&T Corporate Communications representative Penny Gomez noted: “in the interim, just to be clear, Digicel will not block content from local news sites.”]