UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom announced on Thursday that Vodafone has met its extended 3G coverage deadline, narrowly avoiding a penalty.
In November Ofcom named and shamed Vodafone as the only operator not to have met its 3G coverage target of 90 percent coverage by November. While O2, EE and Three all hit the deadline on time, Vodafone missed Ofcom's target by just 1.4 percent, and was given until the end of 2013 to extend its coverage to 90 percent.
Vodafone is off the hook now, however, as today Ofcom announced that the mobile operator met its extended deadline ahead of schedule and therefore will avoid a fine.
Ofcom said, "Vodafone subsequently agreed plans with Ofcom to bring itself into compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013. Following a further coverage assessment, Ofcom has now found that Vodafone met its obligation ahead of this deadline.
"Ofcom takes the requirements of its licensees very seriously, and breaches of these obligations can incur a penalty. 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."
Vodafone clearly was pleased with Ofcom's decision, and said that it will look to hit its next target, of 98 percent coverage by 2015, on time.
A Vodafone spokesperson told The INQUIRER, "We welcome Ofcom’s confirmation that our network coverage exceeds the 90 percent population coverage obligation, which was achieved before the end of 2013.
"We remain committed to delivering 98% population coverage across 2G, 3G and 4G by 2015 and are investing more than £900m in our network in this year alone." µ