United Co-op is to pioneer the use of mobile telephone commerce in the fmcg sector, with tests due to start this month. It has teamed up with technology developer Digital Rum for a 12 month trial of a mobile phone cost comparison facility for electricals. Digital Rum will promote the service which will initially be available on wap phones to Co-op customers. Bob Taylor, new channels development manager, said: "This is the first dip of our toe into the water. We have been developing a range of web e-commerce sites. With the new Digital Rum service shoppers can use the mobile phone service to check the cost of rivals' electronic equipment, while examining our product in store. We are looking at adopting the technology in other areas, such as pharmacy, within the year." Taylor said north west based United Co-op is actively building its electronic presence ­ looking at channels such as digital TV as well as m-commerce and internet. He said: "We are convinced e-commerce is here to stay ­ and we want to get our learning and experience in before it reaches critical mass in the next four years or so." So far grocery home shopping has been ruled out as no model has met requirements. {{NEWS }}

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