eBay badgers Ofcom to improve mobile broadband

eBay is miffed that Britian has such a poor broadband coverage and has written a stiff letter to Ofcom to ask for help sorting out the telcos.

The online auctioneer wants the watchdog to take a bite into the coverage row following research that has found that online retailers were missing out on £1.3 billion of profit due to poor coverage and unreliable connections.

According to the auction site,  mobile shopping could deliver a £4.5 billion boost to Britain’s economy by 2016 and a further £13 billion by 2021 as we become more au fait with shopping via our mobiles. This is around a four-fold increase over the next five years.

Patchy, unreliable and slow mobile broadband in urban and rural areas is holding all the cash back and research, carried out by Verdict on behalf of the auction site, finding that 16 percent of the UK was an “m-commerce notspot”, where mobile spending was at least 20 percent below the national average.

Sparsely populated areas, such as the Scottish highlands and islands, rural Wales and rural counties of England were found to be the worst affected. However London also came up as a bad apple with the figures showing that mobile shopping was also under-performing here because of poor broadband reliability and coverage.

To add to the insult more than a third of consumers said they had failed to complete a purchase on their mobile due to problems with the connection. 

In a bid to make as much money as it can, eBay has decided to to go on the offensive and badger Ofcom to do more to address consumer frustrations when the rules for the 4G mobile networks are sorted out. It wants the watchdog’s upport m-commerce and “help the sector realise its potential,”  as it decides on how best to sell licences for new superfast “4G” mobile broadband.

Of course it hasn’t come out outright and admitted that it’s doing this to line its own pockets, claiming that the research has highlighted that  “consumers and retailers were missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending.”
It has also roped in Tory Penrith and Border MP Rory Stewart into helping to fight its cause.

He said in a statement: “Growth in Britain is going to come from small businesses and it will be driven by mobile broadband. In rural areas, our businesses depend upon online activities, e-commerce and increasingly eBay and m-commerce. This is another fantastic example of why we must take this opportunity to expand mobile broadband coverage as far as possible.”