4G mobile shopping boom for UK?

Smartphones on 4G networks will fuel an increase in mobile shopping, according to eBay.

4G mobile broadband could prompt a huge rise in people using their smartphones for online shopping, according to new research.

A report by auction site eBay suggests universal access to 4G in Britain will boost the UK's retail economy by as much as £1.8billion a year.

It predicts a 113% increase in shopping with smartphones as more networks roll out the superfast technology. Currently, the only UK mobile provider to offer a 4G service is EE.

The country's other major networks are expected to follow suit in 2013.

Olivier Ropars, senior director of m-commerce at eBay Europe, said: "Consumers today want convenience and speed. The arrival of universal 4G will bring with it a more immersive, instant and intimate shopping experience than ever before.

"It won't just turbo-charge the way we shop. It will truly give us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. That means an extra £1.8billion of consumer spending up for grabs."

Feilim Mackle, sales and service director at O2, added: "The universal arrival of 4G will be the catalyst more making Britain truly digital.

"The greatest financial gains for businesses and the economy will be through the introduction of new digital products and services, whether they be services to make shopping easier or products that facilitate new ways of working."

According to eBay's research, just under a third of UK consumers now use a smartphone at some point during their online shopping experience - whether it's just browsing, comparing prices or actually placing an order.

It found speed is biggest frustration for mobile shoppers, which is an issue 4G would help to address as it's up to five times faster than the 3G currently used by most of us.

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