The online auction firm eBay has complained to Ofcom about a lack of mobile broadband coverage in parts of the UK.
According to research conducted at the behest of eBay, 16 percent of the UK remains an "m-commerce not-spot", meaning mobile spending in such areas is at least 20 percent below the national average. The Scottish highlands and islands and rural areas of England and Wales fared worst in the study, which was carried out by Verdict.
"Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole," eBay UK retail director Angus McCarey said in a statement. "But our research shows that consumers and retailers are missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending."
The company reckons UK retailers would be getting £1.3bn more a year if mobile connectivity was not so patchy. It has complained to the regulator now, it said, because Ofcom is currently consulting on the rules for the upcoming '4G' mobile broadband spectrum auction.
Ofcom estimates the LTE mobile broadband standard, which is almost certain to get the lion's share of the spectrum on offer, will provide a 230 percent capacity boost over today's 3G/HSPA technology. However, rural broadband campaigners have criticised Ofcom for only demanding 95 percent coverage from auction winners, saying 98 percent coverage should be mandated.