Vodafone misses regulator's 3G coverage requirements

Ofcom has published the outcomes of an assessment it's done of whether the UK's major mobile phone networks are meeting their 3G cover obligations.

Whilst EE, Three and O2 all met obligations imposed by the regulator, Vodafone fell foul, coming in 1.4 per cent short of the 90 per cent coverage requirement.

The deadline, which needed to be met by 30 June, was enforced in response to a government requirement for operators to cover areas where 90 per cent of the UK population lives.

Vodafone says it has put in place a plan to ensure compliance with the coverage obligation by the end of this year. This will mean rolling out 3G to more mobile masts that the company had originally thought necessary. Ofcom believes the plan is credible, but will monitor the provider closely.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said today:

Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90 per cent of the population and Ofcom is fully aware of our plans to ensure compliance by the end of this year. Our network investment stands at more than £900m this year alone and we remain on track to deliver indoor coverage across 2G, 3G and 4G to 98 per cent of the population by 2015, two years ahead of the regulator's deadline.

Mobile coverage is a priority for the regulator. Its plans for improvement include requirements for providers to extend 4G coverage. By 2017 at the latest, O2 is required to extend 4G coverage indoors across areas where at least 98 per cent of the population lives.