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Vodafone Fail Ofcoms UK 3G Mobile Broadband Coverage Requirement

Thursday, November 7th, 2013 (10:18 am) - Score 1,268
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Mobile operator Vodafone UK has failed Ofcom’s 3G based Mobile Broadband coverage obligation, which requires them to provide related network coverage in the 2100MHz band to at least 90% of the UK population. But apparently they only fell short by 1.4%.

According to the communications regulator, Vodafone are the only major Mobile Network Operator out of the four primary MNO providers (including EE, O2 and Three UK) to fail the commitment, which was first introduced by the current coalition Government in December 2010.

Ofcoms Statement

One operator, Vodafone did not achieve compliance with [the] 3G coverage obligation, falling 1.4% short of the 90% coverage requirement. Following discussions with Ofcom, Vodafone has put in place a plan to bring itself into compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013. Ofcom is satisfied that Vodafone’s plan is credible. We have therefore decided not to take enforcement action now and will instead assess Vodafone’s compliance in January 2014. We will decide whether to take any further action at that time.

It’s worth pointing out that the same obligation also mandates that mobile operators must deliver a “90% probability that users in outdoor locations within that [90% coverage] area can receive the service with a sustained downlink speed of not less than 768kbps in a lightly loaded cell“.

Meanwhile most of the major mobile operators already expect to extend their latest 4G (LTE) networks out to reach 98% of the population by between 2015 and 2017, which somewhat supersedes the reach of 3G. On the other hand consumers often find mobile coverage to be much more variable than the official claims.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar NGA for all says:

    3G – 90% of 90% outdoors in a lightly loaded cell.

    4G Coverage obligation, 98% premises indoors – signal strength to support 2Mbps, with 02 (cornerstone) free to use any frequency. There must be an opportunity for 02+ local fixed wireless partners to challenge for anywhere BT is holding out for subsidies in excess of that established in Northern Ireland. If MIP was judiciously aligned in the same areas it might also help.

    1. Avatar MikeW says:

      What’s MIP?

      BT has made only vague reference to what they intend to do with their 4G spectrum, save to say that they intend to partner with someone else for macro cell coverage. However, there is no indication whether they aim to use it for business services, or for residential sfbb infill.

      It’d be ironic if BT intend do do exactly what you think a competitor should do 😉

  2. Avatar Rupees Burdoch says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always found Vodafone to be the worst for data.

    I wish Sky would get into the mobile services game. They have a lot to offer and could really shake the marketplace up.

  3. Avatar Abby says:

    Mike – MIP (Mobile Infrastructure Project) is £150m Gov initiative to address mobile black spots by 2015. The first sites are set to go live by the end of this year. If you take a figures of £150K to set up a mobile mast, MIP will help about a 1000 masts across the UK. If you subscribe to the view that MNO’s will continue to fail in their coverage obligations there’ll probably be further MIPs along the road.

  4. Avatar PaulG says:

    I have had no internet on my iPhone/Nexus4/5 for about 4 weeks, pings are -1 to 400ms, up/down rate is 0.04mb/s at best. I was advised by Vodafone to try a replacement SIM. On entering my local Vodafone shop, this is what the guy said to me “It won’t help, replacing the SIM, do you know why you have no data? There are so many people with devices and 3G devices that all the space is taken up, it will be better next year when we get 4G”. I visited North Yorkshire (Harrogate, Wetherby, Knaresborough) last week, and I still had no bandwidth. Are Vodafone really expecting its users to “hang on till next year”?

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