Bluetooth to lead the e-commerce revolution - Gartner

Analysts predict 40% of e-commerce outside US will use wireless devices
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

The wireless technology Bluetooth was hailed by analysts as one of the main drivers in the European adoption of e-commerce Monday.

Speaking at the GartnerGroup's European Symposium/ITxpo 99 in Cannes, analysts predicted that by 2004 a full 40 percent of e-commerce transactions outside the US will be done via portable, cellular-enabled devices. Because of the uptake of mobile devices in Europe, Gartner predicts this will enable Europe to leapfrog the US in the e-commerce revolution.

Bluetooth will play a major part that revolution.

"Bluetooth represents a completely new dimension to e-commerce which will radically change how portable and wireless devices are viewed and used," said research director of GartnerGroup Nigel Deighton. He added: "It provides endless opportunities for applications such as vending and ticketing machines, point-of-sale terminals, banking machines and parking meters." Deighton predicted that more than 75 percent of new handsets shipped in 2004 will be Bluetooth-enabled.

While the US concentrates on the PC and TV set-top boxes as the main channels for online shopping, mobile devices will take on the role in Europe according to Gartner. "Europe is close to a turning point in the way users view e-commerce and how they want to access email and information services," according to senior GartnerGroup analyst Peter Richardson.

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) will also play a part according to Richardson who said that over 95 percent of mobile phones shipped in 2004 will be WAP-enabled and that shipments of portable Internet-enabled devices will outstrip PCs by 2003.

In a separate announcement, the race is on for the auction of spectrum licenses for third generation mobile phones. According to e-Minister Patricia Hewitt the UK will win. "We are on track to hold the first 3G spectrum auction in Europe. This will give UK consumers early access to e-commerce on the move and the many other exciting possibilities that 3G will open up," she said in a statement. 3G mobile phones will allow users to surf the Net and download e-mails, music and pictures.

The auction will take place in March 2000. Five new licences will be on offer with the biggest reserved for a new entrant. "That will boost competition," said Hewitt.

Take me to the Bluetooth special

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