Ofcom tweaks mobile operators’ licences to improve coverage
UK regulator, Ofcom, has modified the terms and conditions of the licences of the UK’s four mobile network operators to improve mobile voice coverage across the country. This follows an agreement reached between the Government and EE, O2, Three and Vodafone in December 2014 to increase mobile coverage.
The licence adjustments, also called variations, commit the four operators to provide voice coverage across 90% of the UK’s landmass by the end of 2017. The variations are to the 2G and 3G licences for voice by geography coverage obligations.
In light of these variations, Ofcom will shortly consult further on the annual licence fees for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands.
EE, O2, Three and Vodafone had each signed terms to vary their licences by 30 January 2015.
Ofcom’s 4G auction in 2013 was designed in such a way that one licence – acquired by O2 – has to roll out 4G to cover at least 98% of the UK population (when indoors) by 2017 at the latest. This results in more than 99% coverage for 4G when outdoors. Other UK mobile operators have indicated they intend to match the 98% coverage.