UK telecom regulator, Ofcom is currently in the process of deciding on the best procedure for sale of licences for the new superfast 4G mobile broadband network in the UK.
Meanwhile, in a submission to the regulator, eBay has submitted data from Verdict Research that shows much of UK still remains poorly served by mobile broadband.
Despite the future potential of m-commerce the market has failed to take off, thanks to unreliable mobile broadband. Consequently UK retailers are taking a hit of around £1.3 billion as a due consumer frustrations with patchy coverage, unreliable connections and slow connection speeds putting off customers.
According to the research 16 per cent of the UK is an ''m-commerce not-spot'', where mobile spending is at least 20 per cent below the national average while sparsely populated areas, such as the Scottish highlands and islands, rural Wales and rural counties of England are the worst off. But surprisingly, the evidence also points to underperformance of mobile shopping in some heavily populated areas like central London.
According to analysts, it seems even in the capital and other major cities broadband reliability and coverage is not guaranteed.
Industry sources say mobile shopping could boost the economy by £4.5 billion by 2016 and a further £13 billion by 2021 according to eBay. The main factors holding back m-commerce are patchy coverage and, for 80 per cent of users, the still relatively high cost of some mobile data plans.