If you want to get Britain shopping, give it 4G, Whitehall told

Plea for no more delays to auctions of next-generation spectrum
Written by Jo Best, Contributor on

Plea for no more delays to auctions of next-generation spectrum

high street shopping

4G licence auctions should be subject to no more delays in order to boost consumer spending, according to eBayPhoto: Apple

The government is being asked to press ahead with auctions of 4G spectrum in order to kickstart mobile commerce.

The call comes from eBay, which this week submitted a report entitled Mobile Manifesto to Whitehall after consultation with organisations including retailers, mobile companies and consumer groups.

The manifesto claims that auctioning off licences for 4G spectrum "will deliver a significant boost for m-commerce, resulting in a huge financial dividend for the UK economy".

"Britain is in danger of lagging behind. Sweden completed their auction in 2009, Germany last year, Italy did theirs in September and France will finish theirs this year. Meanwhile, the US has already seen the rollout of 4G services to consumers. However, Ofcom recently announced that the UK 4G auction has been postponed to the end of 2012. If 4G is to be rolled out in 2013, it is therefore vital that there are no further delays," the report added.

According to the online auction house, the speed bump brought by the rollout of 4G will help encourage consumers to spend more on their mobiles: research conducted for the company found that around half of shoppers report being frustrated with browsing speeds on their phones.

The Mobile Manifesto report also calls for the UK's transport links to get better mobile coverage.

"As 4G is rolled out, Ofcom should prioritise improvements to broadband coverage in rural areas and on transport routes such as railway and roads," it says.

According to the eBay-sponsored research, one-third of UK consumers will shop on their mobile while travelling – "a number which could be boosted to benefit retailers with faster mobile internet and better coverage", it said.

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