Vodafone misses targets for UK 3G coverage

8th November 2013

Telecommunications regulator Ofcom published recent tests results showing that British-owned mobile operator Vodafone had failed in their legal obligation to extend mobile 3G coverage to 90%.  The deadline for achieving coverage was set at June 2013 as a condition of the 2000 spectrum auction. Ofcom intends to meet with the big four mobile operators (O2, EE, Vodafone and Three) to discuss increasing customer concern regarding signal black spots. Apparently it is an issue that has become more of a problem after the rollout of current 4G services.

The tests in question were performed at desk level rather than on site. Mathematical calculations and consideration of factors such as mast location were used to ascertain the statistics used in the report.

British based Vodafone is one of the largest mobile operators in the world however their investment in the UK has been relatively small compared to others.  O2 (owned by Spanish giant Telefonica), EE (a French and German operation) and Three (part of a Hong Kong conglomerate) have currently invested more in the UK market.

Currently Vodafone will not receive a penalty from Ofcom on the provision that they have met their targets by the end of the year. If 90% coverage has still not been achieved Ofcom has the power to fine a given operator 10% of their relevant revenue.  As it stands, Vodafone missed the target by approximately 1.4%, they have launched a plan to ensure they are compliant with regulations by 2014. As part of the plan they intend to upgrade over 100 existing 2G sites to 3G sites before the end of the year.