Vodafone has been criticised by Ofcom for failing to meet its 3G coverage obligations.
Under Government guidelines, operators must cover 90% of the population with a 3G signal. While EE, O2 and Three met this obligation by the deadline of 30 June, Vodafone fell short by 1.4%. Ofcom has said it will not take any enforcement action against the operator at present. Vodafone has said it will roll out 3G to more masts than had been originally planned by the end of the year. Ofcom said it will review Vodafone's 3G coverage in January 2014 and take action then if required.
A Vodafone spokesman said: 'Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90% 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% of the population by 2015, two years ahead of the regulator's deadline.'
O2 faced a fine of up to £40m when it failed to meet the 80% coverage obligation in 2008. The operator had coverage of 75.69%, a shortfall of approximately 2.5 million people. After meeting the coverage obligation, the operator avoided the fine.
Meanwhile, the regulator has launched research into the performance of 3G and 4G networks across the UK, with results due in the spring. A spokesperson for the regulator said: 'The research is designed to help consumers understand the performance benefits of 4G over 3G mobile services and assist them in making informed purchasing decisions.'
Author: Graeme Neill