Ofcom will launch research into mobile broadband coverage, after publishing 3G coverage maps of the UK separated by operator for the first time today (8 July).
The regulator states that all networks have to have 80% 3G coverage – a figure it said had been reached by every operator.
However, there are still significant areas without coverage, such as parts of Scotland and Wales. Some networks have less coverage than others – there is a significant difference between 3 and O2’s maps.
Ofcom will now undertake further research to look at ‘not spots’ in the coming months. It will also look at technical aspects of mobile broadband, such as speed, for the first time.
Ofcom said: ‘Ofcom's recent research shows that consumers are increasingly using mobile networks to access the internet on their computers via a dongle or 3G data card.’
It added: ‘Mobile network coverage in the UK is generally good but some problems persist particularly in rural areas. Ofcom is focusing on persistent so-called "not-spot" areas and working where it can to facilitate better mobile coverage.’
Ofcom said there were over two million new connections to mobile broadband between February 2008 and February 2009.
Meanwhile, the regulator also published the second phase of its mobile sector assessment today. It said that it will not undertake a wider formal market review of the mobile sector, although it will be speaking to consumer and industry groups ahead of the document’s publication in the autumn.