Vodafone fails to meet UK 3G coverage obligation

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has said that Vodafone is the nation’s only mobile operator to have failed to meet its 3G coverage obligation. Vodafone has fallen 1.4 per cent short of the 90 per cent coverage requirement.

Vodafone has now put in place a plan to bring itself into compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013, following discussions with Ofcom. This will involve rolling out 3G to more mobile masts than Vodafone had originally estimated as being necessary.

Ofcom said it has reviewed the plan, and “believes it to be credible, but will closely monitor Vodafone’s implementation of the plan”.

3G mobile spectrum licences awarded in 2000 included an obligation to roll-out services to 80 per cent of the UK by population; in 2010 the UK government told Ofcom to increase this obligation to cover 90 per cent of where the UK population lives, setting a deadline of June 30, 2013. EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone agreed to reach this new coverage obligation.

Ofcom said that it conducted an assessment of each operator’s compliance once the deadline had passed. EE, Three and O2 had successfully met the obligation.

“In light of Vodafone’s compliance plans, Ofcom has decided not to take any enforcement action at this stage,” the regulator said in a statement. “It will assess Vodafone’s compliance in January 2014 and depending on the position at that time, the possibility of taking any further action will be considered.”

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