Tag: mobile commerce

Vodafone throws its toys out of the pram

The telephone outfit which can’t spell the word “phone” is furious that Ofcom is allowing Everything Everywhere to launch 4G services by the end of this year.

Vodafone boss chief Guy Laurence accused the communications regulator of “taking leave of its senses” by allowing the nation’s biggest mobile operator to use its existing spectrum to deliver 4G services.

He claimed it was unfair that Ofcom “is all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a headstart on the next generation of mobile internet services.”

Talking to the Sunday Times, he said that Everything Everywhere would now ‘be free to bog down’ a forthcoming spectrum auction in endless litigation and prevent other operators from building faster networks.

Ofcom has pointed out that it expected Vodafone to throw its toys out of the pram, and moan like a girl however there is nothing to stop it doing the same thing if it wanted.

Vodafone has not been keen on the move to 4G as it hopes to make a little bit more cash out of 3G before the technology switches. 

eBay pushes policymakers on mobile broadband

Online retailer eBay is telling the British government and regulators to stop dragging their heels on plans for next generation data connectivity in the UK. 

eBay has it figured out that, actually, in five to ten year’s time lots of us are going to be spending money on our mobile devices. But a stickler to getting to that point is the UK’s comparitively poor data connectivity. 

In an eBay paper with the catchy title “Seizing the Mobile Retail Opportunity,” UK Retail Director Angus McCarey says the speed of change we’re going to see over the next five will completely trounce the last ten years. 

eBay has packed its public affair execs off to Ofcom’s doorstep, where the Silicon Valley company is recommending it proceeds with the 4G auction as fast as possible. It believes Ofcom needs to prioritise broadband coverage rollouts in rural areas and on transport routes like railway and roads.

It also warns against monopoly, urging Ofcom to make it easier for smaller companies to access spectrum, as well as pushing white space technology.

The argument to us seems to be: people are still buying despite the recession. Enabling mobile devices to make shopping simple, easy, fun and perhaps addictive, consumers could provide a substantial boost to the economy.

Many companies at the forefront of mobile technology agree that the world is moving towards an always-connected environment and with that comes convergence. “Phrases like e-commerce or m-commerce will become increasingly meaningless,” eBay’s McCarey said, “there will just be commerce.”

If you’re always on with a decent connection the window of opportunity for consuming isn’t just a lunch break or on your laptop at home – it’s all the time. Not only that, but the relatively high cost of data really does put off shoppers, according to a survey eBay commissioned for the report.

Speaking to TechEye, Clare Moore-Bridger at eBay told us that there’s a paradox in the UK economy: “We’re leading the way in so many aspects of mobile adoption, but lagging behind in our infrastructure,” she said. “Current problems with slow download speeds are only likely to get worse as smartphone usage peaks and data demand heats up.”

Moore-Bridger said that, while signs of O2 committing to trialling 4G mobile internet in London are very encouraging, “we need more wide-ranging action, spurred on and supported by policymakers.”

The first and most important step, according to Moore-Bridger, must be taken by Ofcom: “The number one priority for Ofcom should be to proceed with the auction of the 4G spectrum as quickly as possible to enable the rollout of next generation broadband in 2013.”

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.”


Retailers not ready for mobile commerce

Retailers are still taking a lax approach to mobile commerce, despite many claiming that they know the technology will be huge over the next two years.

That’s the latest from research by app provider Kony, which set about interviewing 100 marketing and IT directors at UK retail businesses, along with 1000 consumers to get their thoughts on the industry.

Although 87 percent of retailers believe mobile commerce will impact shopping in the next two years, only a measly 16 percent have a mobile strategy in place.

A further 42 percent of retailers admitted that they believed mobile commerce was already affecting shopping behaviour, but despite this almost a third had no plans to implement one at all.

Of the retailers questioned, 45 percent said that native mobile applications were the most critical mobile commerce channel to their business. However, 40 percent believed mobile web was more important.  

What many seem to agree on is that SMS is out of the picture these days, with a teeny 10 percent naming it most important.

Retailers expect to spend 21 percent of their budget on the development and implementation of a mobile strategy, while 10 percent are already one step ahead and investing between 40 to 50 percent of their budget into mobile.

Of the 1000 average joes asked, 60 percent said they used mobile internet to make decisions in a store or while shopping online.

A further 40 percent admitted to using mobile applications to make shopping decisions and 37 percent used a mixture of the two.

Plenty of retailers, 74 percent of those surveyed, are making a mistake by tailoring apps just to the iPhone – as 58 percent of consumers prefer to shop and browse on other platforms.

The survey also explored the development of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and how retailers plan to implement it within stores.

Of the retailers questioned, 57 percent of retailers said they were considering the technology as part of their overall mobile strategy, while a quarter of consumers already want to use their mobiles to pay for items in-store, though a third were concerned about security.

Of course, Kony has an agenda and the sample size is relatively small, so we’re talking heaps of salt to be taken in pinches.