AOL portal launches wireless shopping

AOL enlists Carphone Warehouse to help consumers find better deals over their phone

Mviva, the wireless portal backed by AOL and Carphone Warehouse, on Monday rolled out a comparison-shopping service, m dealfinder.

The service, like similar offerings from and others, lets users check prices on an item from several different vendors and carry out a purchase. Users can enter a product keyword, or the item's barcode number to find out if it is available somewhere else for a better price.

M-commerce, while potentially reaching a far larger user base than solutions aimed at people who own computers, has so far failed to appeal to consumers. Digital Rum, the company on whose software platform dealfinder is based, hopes similar services will begin to change that situation. "Working with our partners such as Mviva, we will develop a range of applications across multi-platforms to drive the mobile retail sector forward," said Johan Van de Steen, Digital Rum co-founder and chief executive, in a statement.

Despite the hype over mobile commerce and services, mobile phones, set-top boxes and PDAs will only account for 19 percent of online retail sales by 2005, according to a study by Forrester Research.

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