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eBay UK goes mobile

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eBay UK has launched a service designed to make auctions accessible to mobile phones subscribers. Technology from software development firm Volantis will allow eBay users to control auctions from handsets through a service dubbed eBay Anywhere.

The service is billed as a way for users to keep track of their transactions – or increase their bids – when they're on the move or otherwise away from a computer. From today, registered eBay.co.uk members can sign up to eBay Anywhere. Users will then have the opportunity to register to receive SMS alerts based on various different online auction scenarios applicable to either buyers or sellers.

Once a buyer has received an outbid SMS alert to their handset, for example, they will have an opportunity to increase their own bid. The outbid SMS message contains a mobile web link that clicks through to a WAP page. From this location a user can enter their revised bid in a secure, real time environment, enabling them to continue to take part in the auction process even when away from a PC.

Each SMS message received costs 25p. The user also has the option to ‘switch off’ the alerts at certain times of day, for example during the night. eBay began offering an SMS alert service two years ago but it was more limited than eBay Anywhere, which introduces various features such as the ability to make auction bids using only a handset. eBay Anywhere is a UK-only service but the auction site has launched comparable mobile service in other countries, including Germany and the US, using different backend technology. ®

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