The UK mobile economy could be set to boom over the next few years, a report has revealed - as long as mobile network coverage is drastically improved.
The research, conducted by Verdict on behalf of eBay, predicts that m-commerce may be on the verge of a four-fold increase in just four years. The market could increase to £6 billion by 2016, and by 2021 could be worth up to £19 billion.
However, the UK is currently missing out on a massive £1.3 billion in payments on mobile sites. According to a poll of 1,500 consumers, 16 per cent of the UK spends much less than the national average on m-commerce, with a third never having made a purchase. A large number of these lived in Wales, Scotland, East Anglia and the West Country, meaning large chunks of rural Britain are what the report calls 'mobile not-spots'.
High time for 4G
Conversely, areas including Birmingham, Leeds and Chester were labelled 'hot-spots', as consumers there make more mobile payments than the national average. However, across the whole of the UK, problems such as reliability, speed and network coverage were cited as barriers to mobile spending.
Following the report, eBay is joining several MPs calling on Ofcom to push for widespread 4G mobile broadband, which the communications regulator is set to make a decision on this year. Trials are planned for late in 2011, but the network is not likely to be available for the whole country until 2014.