By Maximilian Clarke

eBay has sent the Government its Mobile Manifesto setting out what industry and policymakers need to do to support the UK’s burgeoning mobile powered economy.

The UK’s digital communications industry — including mobile operations from retailers, network providers and developers - is worth over £50 billion to the UK economy according to a recent report prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and directly employs five hundred and thirty one thousand UK workers. The Mobile Manifesto includes seven critical areas of focus that will boost the UK’s wider economic recovery through the support of this growing industry.

The launch of the Mobile Manifesto comes as new research, commissioned by eBay, reveals that consumers are being held back from spending owing to frustrations with the speed at which they can complete everyday functions like browsing and shopping on their smartphones. Half of the 2,000 consumers questioned (45%) are in fact dissatisfied with the speed at which they can download data on their mobile phone.

“Three’s customers make the most of their smartphones, but a fear of high data roaming charges force them to limit their internet use the moment they leave the UK,” said David Dyson, Three UK’s Chief Executive Officer. “High wholesale charges mean high roaming prices. We stand with eBay in calling for the European Commission to cap wholesale data charges at 3c or less and lead the world in making the mobile internet accessible wherever consumers want to use it.”

With the auction for 4G spectrum suffering delays, eBay is calling for Ofcom to proceed as quickly as possible to enable the rollout of next generation broadband in 2013. According to Verdict research, Ofcom should prioritise improvements to mobile internet coverage on transport routes such as railways and roads as over a third of consumers (36%) already shop on their mobiles whilst travelling — a number which could be boosted to benefit retailers with faster mobile internet and better coverage.

“As smartphone and tablet ownership increases there will be even greater potential rewards for companies investing in mobile, and this is particularly true for retailers,” added Mirian Lahage, Vice President of Global Fashion at eBay. “At eBay in the UK we now see around 10% of sales by value transacted on mobile devices, but we need the right infrastructure in the UK to match this demand. “


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