More reports on: Telecom

Vodafone avoids Ofcom fine for falling short of target roll out

01 February 2014

Vodafone has been able to avoid a fine from Ofcom for missing its 3G roll-out target.

As part of the 3G mobile spectrum licences awarded in 2000, network operators were obliged to provide 3G to 90 per cent of the population by 30 June.

However, it was revealed by the regulator that the company had only managed to provide 3G to 88.6 per cent of the population.

Rivals O2, EE and Three, had all been able to meet the target, which was increased from 80 per cent to 90 per cent in 2010.

Vodafone was offered an extended deadline till  end - 2013 to hit the 90 per cent mark, which it managed to keep.

"Ofcom takes the requirements of its licensees very seriously, and breaches of these obligations can incur a penalty," the regulator said in a statement.

"In this case, once informed by Ofcom, Vodafone provided a plan to address the shortfall. This involved work to upgrade 129 mobile transmitter sites, which was completed on time.

"Having taken these factors into account, and the margin by which the target was missed, Ofcom has decided that it will not take any further action on this occasion."

A Vodafone spokesman welcoming the announcement, promised that the company would deliver 98 per cent population coverage by 2015 through a combination of its 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

The UK's 3G licences were awarded in a 22 billion auction in 2000 but telcos had been slow in rolling out the networks following the dotcom crash and weak demand for mobile internet access.

The ongoing introduction of 4G networks was proceeding more quickly.

The regulator, meanwhile, had stepped up monitoring of the service the UK's mobile networks provide.

It is researching the rate of ''dropped calls" suffered by customers and, will publish data this year on the relative internet access speeds offered by rival operators.

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