Trade Resources Industry Views Vodafone Has Failed to Meet Its Obligation to Deliver 3G Coverage to 90 Per Cent

Vodafone Has Failed to Meet Its Obligation to Deliver 3G Coverage to 90 Per Cent

Vodafone has failed to meet its obligation to deliver 3G coverage to 90 per cent of the UK's population, according to an assessment by communications regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom found that rival networks EE, Three and O2 had hit the target but that Vodafone fell 1.4 per cent short of the 90 per cent requirement.

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When the 3G mobile spectrum licences were awarded in 2000, networks were told that they had to ensure that their services were available to 80 per cent of the UK. This was then increased by the government in 2010 to 90 per cent of the UK population.

The deadline for this was 30 June 2013, after which Ofcom conducted an assessment of each network to ensure that it was compliant, with Vodafone being the only operator to fail.

The regulator has said that it has held talks with Vodafone, and that the network has instilled a plan to ensure compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013. This will include rolling out 3G to more mobile masts than the telecommunications firm had initially thought necessary.

Ofcom believes the plan is "credible" but said it will closely monitor the network's implementation. As a result of the plan that Vodafone has put into place, Ofcom said it would not take any enforcement action at this stage, but that there could be a penalty when it assesses Vodafone's compliance in January 2014, depending on the outcome.

The communications regulator will be carrying out research to measure the performance and speeds of 3G and 4G mobile networks. It expects to publish the results in spring 2014.

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Vodafone Falls Short in 3G Coverage, Says Ofcom