7 things you need to know about Econet’s adblocking and how it will affect your internet experience


The recently announced deal between the Econet Wireless Group and Shine, the network level ad blocking company, has stirred up some debate around the effect this will have on our browsing habits.


There have been questions about what this means to the content we access and whether or not mobile broadband users will need to do anything to change their browsing habits.

To explain this here are a few of the questions around this development and the corresponding answers.


What is ad blocking?

As the name suggests it’s the blocking of adverts that you see when you access websites that are running adverts or promotions. Usually, it’s supported by different kinds of ad blocking web extensions that you can activate on your browser to avoid seeing adverts. Some of the more common ad blocking services like Adblock Plus also have mobile browser plug ins that works

How is Econet involved?

Econet management, Zimbabwean Telecoms

Econet’s deal with Shine is set to introduce adblocking at the network level. This means that subscribers don’t have to download and activate a browser extension. Econet will have the ad blocking software installed in its data centres and every time you access a site that has ads that can be blocked they won’t show up.

When is it starting?

No date has been provided, but Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has been selected as  the first network under the Econet Group to activate the service.

How do I activate it?

Econet has said that it will be automatic – subscribers don’t have to click on anything or download any application or extension to set it up

What sort of ads are being blocked?


Econet is yet to offer details on this but according to the kind of network level ad blocking that Shine has carried out in other markets, it will be on display ads. In an interview with Techcrunch earlier this year, Shine’s Chief Marketing Officer was reported as having said that their software is focused on blocking banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders

In an interview with Techcrunch earlier this year, Shine’s Chief Marketing Officer Roi Carthy was reported as having said that their software is focused on blocking banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders and all third party ad content. It’s the sort of stuff that we all identifying know as the irritating ad

It’s the sort of stuff that we all identify as the irritating ad content that requires some effort to dismiss it.

How will subscribers benefit?



Subscribers  are going to save their mobile data, and according to Shine, lots of it. The company has said that an analysis of Econet’s network performance showed that ads have been using up to 40% of subscribers’ data. A block of these ads will translate to a huge relief on the way data is used up. Econet expects this to help in dealing with complaints against dissapearing airtime.

Ad blocking will also speed up the browsing experience on sites since all that ad content takes time to load while using up broadband resources.

There’s also the benefit of privacy that comes with not being geo-targeted or tagged by browsing behaviour. then there’s the dismissal of annoying click-bait ads that are at times irrelevant.

How big a deal for Zimbabwe is this?

City of Harare, Zimbabwe, African Cities, Pick n Pay, African Traffic

Besides being the first large scale ad blocking move in Zimbabwe (and probably in Africa) Econet is also the biggest provider of internet services in the country. Econet broadband serves 79.2% of the Zimbabwean mobile broadband market which is also a huge quotient of the overall market that has internet access. Zimbabwe is a mobile-first country with over 95% of connections made via mobile broadband connections.

This means that Econet’s adoption of adblocking tech has a decision effect on online advertising campaigns that brands have been running aimed at the local market.

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10 thoughts on “7 things you need to know about Econet’s adblocking and how it will affect your internet experience

  1. My experience as a web admin:
    90% of Econet’s subscribers use Opera Mini
    They make up 70% of visits.
    They contribute less than 5% to ad revenue

    Solution: Block all Econet visits and redirect to paywall with a Clear notice:
    You are using Econet, if you want “free” access pliz switch or pay for content which will load fast.

    FYI Sites have no annoying ads, just Adsense. Effort is made to make ads unobstructive.

      1. My dear advertisements run the internet. if everyone went ahead and blocked ads on their platform, content on the internet will be a lot more expensive

  2. I hope Econet knows that it’s NOT just Ads that cause airtime disappearance, hell! people are having their airtime used up without even opening a single web page, how? Background data. If they truly want to solve the problem, they’ll need to deal with that, otherwise this will yet again be a first for Econet but without any meaningful benefit to users.

    1. Background data is a handset issue not a network provider. Disable it on your phone. You probably have an android phone, Settings -> Mobile Data -> Click on the app -> Restrict Background data. The app will probably not work as expected after that. Good luck…

      1. Also does that option to disable out of bundle browsing work. can’t believe it took them this long to add that, we’ve wanted that option since data bundles

  3. Econet may say they are saving the users data but the truth is they are building something that they will benefit from. if they are going to block ads it means they are going to have control of which ads will appear, the move is to develop a monopoly market place.
    Next step they are going to open for bidding to marketers for ads that can appear. this is a move to kill general advertising being sold by bloggers who at this stage are not even benefiting much from the ads

    1. quite true i think you have nailed it…these companies(Econet, Google etc) don’t just offer free things for free..there must be a bigger motive behind..something must be cooking up….one way or the other econet must benefit from this

  4. I think people need to chill out on this ad blocking business. Everyone wants to block ads but still dont want to pay for content. I for one am willing to endure some adverts, some i actually need, just so that there is plethora of free content to access. I won’t claim to understand how the online economy fully works but i know its because of ad revenue i can enjoy a lot of the stuff that justify me opening my chrome each morning. WHO DO YOU THINK IS PAYING FOR IT ALL

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