Feeds

eBay calls for cheap 4G networks

Tat bazaar turns operator lobbyist

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

eBay wants 4G radio spectrum to be cheap, claiming that mobile commerce is a lost opportunity in the UK, but the shopping portal's motives aren't quite as altruistic as they appear to be.

The UK regulator, Ofcom, is currently consulting on how best to flog off the old analogue TV frequencies, which are expected to end up carrying 4G telephony. eBay has responded to that consultation by calling for the regulator to focus on coverage and accessibility, so that private companies like eBay can focus on increasing revenue without having to worry about the operators wanting a slice.

Citing its own survey, eBay has created "m-commerce not-spots", and put 16 per cent of the UK population in them. Having polled 1,500 people, the company has decided that it is the high cost of mobile data that's putting shoppers off – as opposed to the availability of local shops or a reluctance to buy stuff from a seller identified only as "mrbigdeal".

Map showing where people don't shop at eBay on phones

You don't want to shop at eBay? Your connectivity must be duff...

The map shows network coverage as deduced from the popularity of eBay mobile, on the premise that lack of connectivity is the only reason one would eschew eBay. The places with the least m-commerce – the Outer Hebrides and Lerwick – both still have local shops which provide a social hub as well as a provisioning service, but clearly that has nothing to do with them failing to use eBay mobile – that's because there isn't enough mobile coverage.

eBay expects to collect $4bn over the mobile networks around the world in 2011. If mobile operators end up paying through the nose for 4G spectrum, they could well decide they want a slice of that revenue, perhaps in exchange for priority access or similar arrangements. The same threat hangs over all the other mobile services, and motivates them to lobby hard for "net neutrality".

But eBay tells us that improved mobile broadband won't just help eBay, it will also benefit small businesses which depend on eBay to sell stuff, and, in a remarkable leap of logic, will benefit the High Street shops by encouraging spending in general. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.