4G networks, which will speed up the rate at which mobile networks operate, could transform the way shoppers consume mobile content.

The technology claims to permit internet speeds that are up to five times faster than those experienced on 3G. This means retailers will be presented with the new challenge of how to take advantage of these increased speeds and video advertising possibilities.

Paul Thompson, managing director at mobile advertising company BlisMedia, says retailers that offer in-store promotions through mobile location-based targeting could be among those that benefit most.

He adds: “4G will also allow the use of video advertising to be more prevalent. Downloads, uploading and streaming of video content accounts for 26% of 4G traffic, and YouTube alone is responsible for 14%.”

Some retailers are already working hard to stay ahead of the technological trend – John Lewis, for instance, has had free Wi-Fi in stores for more than 18 months.

The further roll-out of 4G services – Vodafone and O2 have launched it so far, and 3 will do before the end of the year – will create opportunities for retailers keen to try using mobile more. It will make in-store mobile services quicker and is likely to encourage more consumers to use their devices in store.