Ofcom: Vodafone failed to reach 3G target

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Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has revealed that Vodafone hasn’t managed to meet with its 3G coverage obligations in stipulated time.

As per terms and conditions related to 3G mobile spectrum licenses awarded in 2000, all the telecom companies were ordered to roll out their 3G services to 80% of the total UK population. The target was increased to 90% in 2010.

Ofcom revealed on Thursday that Vodafone was the only telecom operator company in UK to have failed to hit the 90% 3G mobile coverage legal obligation by June this year.

The report revealed that Vodafone fell short of 1.4 percent of the legal minimum target requirement, while the other rival mobile operator companies including O2, EE and Three were successful in meeting the obligation right on time.

Vodafone has been granted a small extension by Ofcom to ensure that its 3G services cover 90% of the total UK population by 2013 end. If the British mobile operator company misses the extended time target this time, then the telecom watchdog will have complete power to levy a fine of up to 10% of their relevant turnover.

Ofcom said “Vodafone has put in place a plan to bring itself into compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013. This will involve rolling out 3G to more mobile masts than Vodafone had originally estimated as being necessary. Ofcom has reviewed this plan, and believes it to be credible, but will closely monitor Vodafone’s implementation of the plan.”

“[We] will assess Vodafone’s compliance in January 2014 and depending on the position at that time, the possibility of taking any further action will be considered”.

Responding to Ofcom’s report, a spokeswoman from Vodafone said that “Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90 percent 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 percent of the population by 2015, two years ahead of the regulator’s deadline.”