eBay Lands First Mobile Pre-Load Deal With Telefonica's O2 UK Phones

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eBay’s mobile reach in Europe is about to expand exponentially. The e-commerce giant has just announced it first ever mobile pre-load deal with Telefonica, which will equip most smartphones and feature phones sold by the Telefonica via its O2 brand with eBay’s mobile app or a link to eBay’s mobile page pre-loaded.

The company says the deal will include most Android, Windows 7, Symbian and Bada devices sold by O2 in the UK over the next two years. Telefonica will actually work with device manufacturers to pre-install the application.

So why is this a big deal? It’s eBay’s first pre-load deal with a carrier, and Telfonica O2 is one of the largest carriers in Europe. While the apps will only be available on O2 UK’s phones initially, the apps are expected to roll out to other Telefonica markets. The pre-loaded apps will no doubt be able to bring in more traffic to eBay’s apps and sites.

Mobile generated $2 billion in sales for eBay last year, and the company expects to double that number in 2011. And eBay’s mobile strategy is already gaining traction in international markets. The UK is the strongest market for eBay in terms of m-commerce in Europe, with an item purchased on average every two seconds through the eBay buyer app in the UK in 2010. And Germany and the UK combined generated nearly one-third of all eBay’s mobile sales in 2010.

I’m going to take a wild guess here, but I’m sure eBay will be negotiating similar pre-load carrier deals in other countries over the next year.

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