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Vodafone falls short with mobile data coverage

Graeme Parton

Mobile operator Vodafone has been criticised by Ofcom for failing to meet its network coverage  obligations.

In 2000, 3G licences were awarded to the UK’s mobile firms. These included obligations to roll the service out to 80 per cent of the country’s population. This was further increased to 90 per cent in 2010.

O2, Three and EE – formed by the merger of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK in 2010 – were deemed by the regulator to have met these targets successfully.

Vodafone, however, fell short by 1.4 per cent. The company said this will be rectified before the end of 2013. It hopes to sort the issue out by rolling 3G out to more masts than it had initially planned.

In a statement, the company explained that Ofcom had been made aware of the plans it had in place to ensure compliance before the year is up. It also pointed out that in 2013, it has pledged to invest £900 million in its network and is still on track with its aims to offer indoor 2G, 3G and 4G coverage to 98 per cent of UK consumers before 2015 – ahead of the regulator’s 2017 deadline.

Mobile coverage quality is known to be inconsistent across the UK, and the issues are perhaps being further highlighted by the advancements in the quality of content consumers have access to.

We recently reported on how television manufacturers and broadband providers are struggling to keep up with the progress Netflix has made with its image quality, and this is very similar.

As the capabilities of smartphones increase with every generation and the content produced for them also becomes richer and more immersive, people and businesses will struggle to benefit fully as mobile data speeds – even with the recent launch of 4G – fail to match those of home broadband connections.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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