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Vodafone in trouble from Ofcom over poor 3G coverage


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Old 07-11-2013, 11:22
Everything Goes
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Ofcom have given Vodafone till the end of the year to improve their 3G coverage to 90% as they have failed to meet their coverage obligations.

Ofcomís assessment of each operatorís compliance with the coverage obligation is that EE, Three and O2 have met this obligation but that Vodafone fell 1.4% short of the 90% coverage requirement. Following discussions with Ofcom, Vodafone has put in place a plan to bring itself into compliance with the 3G coverage obligation by the end of 2013.





http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/bin...gn=3g-coverage
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:27
FlyinBrick
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Even when they had 3G in place it was crap and unusable where I live (Major city). One of the main reasons why I dumped them on two of my contracts, and will dump them when the third is up in March.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:28
corf
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Ofcom being too soft. Vodafone has had it easy in the UK and screwed up badly.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:37
heskethbang
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I don't know what happened to Voda - like the other traditional network o2, they seem to have not taken 3G seriously enough and I usually ended up with either no 3G coverage, or even where there was 3G, it was often difficult to connect, and when I did connect, it was at a trickling speed.
The final straw for me was standing outside in the middle of Central Birmingham, trying to google something and being stuck with EDGE - I had to find a cafe and use wifi.
Switched to Three in March - fantastic fast reliable network -- built for smartphones.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:38
Everything Goes
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Ofcom being too soft. Vodafone has had it easy in the UK and screwed up badly.
Ofcom will look at it again in January and see if they still haven't met their coverage obligations. They were much tougher with O2 a few years back.

We have therefore decided not to take enforcement action now and will instead assess Vodafoneís compliance in January 2014. We will decide whether to take any further action at that time.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:39
randolf105
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So its sayinh that o2 does have at least 90% 3g coverage. Really?
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:49
heskethbang
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So its sayinh that o2 does have at least 90% 3g coverage. Really?
Yes I was quite surprised by that implication.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:59
Everything Goes
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A Vodafone spokesman said: 'Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90% of the population and Ofcom is fully aware of our plans to ensure compliance by the end of this year."

: http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/27....1YkjZIgV.dpuf
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:01
Viridiana
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The coverage is absolutely terrible. I'm with Vodafone. Its shocking how bad my coverage is. I had to get a friends Ipad with O2 because i could not get mine to work for 3 days for work related purposes in a place i did not have wifi. Simply pathetic.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:20
finbaar
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A Vodafone spokesman said: 'Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90% of the population and Ofcom is fully aware of our plans to ensure compliance by the end of this year."

: http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/27....1YkjZIgV.dpuf
Hey don't rush them. They need time to get things right. It is, after all, only 13 years since they won the right to the 3G spectrum.
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Old 07-11-2013, 12:31
qasdfdsaq
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Expanding 3G coverage would be a total waste of money tbh.

LTE is more capable, provides more coverage for the cost, and is more spectrum efficient.

I suspect some networks will have been deliberately trying to save money by deploying as little 3G as possible and saving the money for the more futureproof LTE instead.

After all, the 3G coverage obligations gave networks TEN YEARS to get to 90% coverage, the 4G coverage obligation (which only applies to O2) gives them barely three years to get to 98% - yet all networks expect to exceed that by several years. That's going to involve one hell of a roll-out compared to 3G, which for all intents and purposes might as well be dead.

I really can't think of a single advantage 3G has over 4G that would justify them spending extra money on it when it could be spent elsewhere.
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:13
japaul
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I know it's not quite the same measurement but given Vodafone passed the original 80% obligation test at the end of 2007, they have gone from around 80% to 88.6% in 5.5 years. Not figures to be especially proud of.

O2 easily passed them because O2's 3G900 coverage actually extended overall coverage a bit. Vodafone started much later and the initial rollouts are all in areas which generally had 2100 already.
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:26
enapace
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Expanding 3G coverage would be a total waste of money tbh.

LTE is more capable, provides more coverage for the cost, and is more spectrum efficient.

I suspect some networks will have been deliberately trying to save money by deploying as little 3G as possible and saving the money for the more futureproof LTE instead.

After all, the 3G coverage obligations gave networks TEN YEARS to get to 90% coverage, the 4G coverage obligation (which only applies to O2) gives them barely three years to get to 98% - yet all networks expect to exceed that by several years. That's going to involve one hell of a roll-out compared to 3G, which for all intents and purposes might as well be dead.

I really can't think of a single advantage 3G has over 4G that would justify them spending extra money on it when it could be spent elsewhere.
I can think of a massive one advantage keeping/gaining customers. If people aren't getting a good service they will move somewhere else. A lot of people aren't bothered with 4G at all and just want a reliable 3G service. Like a lot of people aren't bothered about 3G and just want a reliable 2G service.
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:27
qasdfdsaq
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So if a lot of people aren't bothered with 3G at all why would they move elsewhere if they have bad 3G coverage?

I know it's not quite the same measurement but given Vodafone passed the original 80% obligation test at the end of 2007, they have gone from around 80% to 88.6% in 5.5 years. Not figures to be especially proud of.
TBH they could have gone from 88.6% to 88.6% in 5.5 years, whose to say they only had exactly 80% in 2007?

O2 easily passed them because O2's 3G900 coverage actually extended overall coverage a bit. Vodafone started much later and the initial rollouts are all in areas which generally had 2100 already.
Meh, O2's rollout was initially in areas which already had 2100 as well - for capacity and in-building penetration in dense urban areas. But now the network's shared between VF and O2 anyway there's a lot less for VF to do - the RAN and backhaul will already be in place for 2100 and O2's 900.
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Old 07-11-2013, 13:42
japaul
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So if a lot of people aren't bothered with 3G at all why would they move elsewhere if they have bad 3G coverage?


TBH they could have gone from 88.6% to 88.6% in 5.5 years, whose to say they only had exactly 80% in 2007?
Not me. That's why I said around 80% which is not the same thing as exactly 80%.


Meh, O2's rollout was initially in areas which already had 2100 as well - for capacity and in-building penetration in dense urban areas. But now the network's shared between VF and O2 anyway there's a lot less for VF to do - the RAN and backhaul will already be in place for 2100 and O2's 900.
Indeed O2's initial rollout was capacity driven particularly in London. However, it started around a year earlier than Vodafone's and later on it spilled out into areas which hadn't seen 3G. Vodafone's 3G900 is pretty much what has been done since the new sharing agreement was put in place.
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Old 07-11-2013, 14:05
Thine Wonk
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So funny, some people here tried to argue that Vodafone had one of the best 3G networks and Root Metrics tried to imply that they were coming at the bottom of most Root Metrics reports because EE and Three commissioned some of the reports in some areas. They pointed me to a PR briefing saying Vodafone had an outstanding network!

Now we hear the truth!
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Old 07-11-2013, 14:55
heskethbang
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Expanding 3G coverage would be a total waste of money tbh.

LTE is more capable, provides more coverage for the cost, and is more spectrum efficient.

I suspect some networks will have been deliberately trying to save money by deploying as little 3G as possible and saving the money for the more futureproof LTE instead.

After all, the 3G coverage obligations gave networks TEN YEARS to get to 90% coverage
And yet those networks had existing infrastructure, fewer planning hurdles to overcome etc, unlike 3, who had to build a network from scratch, and look how good they are now.
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:27
moox
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I don't know what happened to Voda - like the other traditional network o2, they seem to have not taken 3G seriously enough and I usually ended up with either no 3G coverage, or even where there was 3G, it was often difficult to connect, and when I did connect, it was at a trickling speed.
The final straw for me was standing outside in the middle of Central Birmingham, trying to google something and being stuck with EDGE - I had to find a cafe and use wifi.
Switched to Three in March - fantastic fast reliable network -- built for smartphones.
Last time I drove right past VF HQ in Newbury, I wasn't picking up a VF 3G signal. I'd hope that was an anomaly instead of not being able to cover their own campus properly.
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Old 07-11-2013, 15:30
Voynich
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So funny, some people here tried to argue that Vodafone had one of the best 3G networks and Root Metrics tried to imply that they were coming at the bottom of most Root Metrics reports because EE and Three commissioned some of the reports in some areas. They pointed me to a PR briefing saying Vodafone had an outstanding network!

Now we hear the truth!
When I cancelled my father's contract last year for him after the compulsory period was up, Vodafone's own retention department accepted the coverage was bad where we lived! I was expecting for them to argue and to try and keep him as a customer.
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:05
qasdfdsaq
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And yet those networks had existing infrastructure, fewer planning hurdles to overcome etc, unlike 3, who had to build a network from scratch, and look how good they are now.
Those networks' existing infrastructure were set up for 2G and 2G on a vastly different frequency band than the then new 3G service (900 vs 2100Mhz).

Hence virtually none of the existing infrastructure was of much use. Upgrading required new antennae, new cabling, new radios, new controllers, new backhaul, new core networks. Pretty much the only thing that could be re-used was the power feed and the metal pole those things were stuck onto. Even those were not always useful because the different frequencies and capacities required masts sited in different places.

3's network was designed for 3G from the outset and had no legacy crap to deal with, plus they benefited hugely from joining with T-Mobile and later EE.
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:11
Thine Wonk
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It is shameful, more than a decade after the launch of 3G and Vodafone still hasn't reached 90% population coverage. Both O2 and Vodafone have breached Ofcom coverage obligations for 3G, it is shameful. The Root Metrics reports for Vodafone are a disgrace, mass amounts of dropped calls in some cities and typically the slowest speeds. Now we learn they have the least 3G coverage of any network.

Does anyone know what Vodafone's response to this was?
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:18
Mark in Essex
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They need to sort everything out at the moment.

I'm forever getting no connection on calls nowadays and I have raised a case at the moment on the Vodafone forum where the data speed in Harlow where I live never goes above 150kbps even though I've got full HSPA+ reception. I use to get at least 3mbps which I was happy with.

They have really gone downhill since they launched their 4G and I WILL be moving once my contract is up in less than a month and even my company that has several hundred employees in the UK on Vodafone are looking at moving due to the recent problems.
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:27
Mark in Essex
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Those networks' existing infrastructure were set up for 2G and 2G on a vastly different frequency band than the then new 3G service (900 vs 2100Mhz).

Hence virtually none of the existing infrastructure was of much use. Upgrading required new antennae, new cabling, new radios, new controllers, new backhaul, new core networks. Pretty much the only thing that could be re-used was the power feed and the metal pole those things were stuck onto. Even those were not always useful because the different frequencies and capacities required masts sited in different places.

3's network was designed for 3G from the outset and had no legacy crap to deal with, plus they benefited hugely from joining with T-Mobile and later EE.
Agree with most of that, but would they have not found it easier to get planning permission on existing towers/locations where everybody else would have to apply from scratch?
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Old 07-11-2013, 19:45
qasdfdsaq
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Maybe, but like I said they needed a lot of new towers and can't re-use a lot of existing ones.

3 didn't build all their masts from scratch either, even before the network share a lot of networks were co-siting on each others' masts or general utility masts and existing buildings.
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Old 07-11-2013, 23:28
Everything Goes
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It is shameful, more than a decade after the launch of 3G and Vodafone still hasn't reached 90% population coverage. Both O2 and Vodafone have breached Ofcom coverage obligations for 3G, it is shameful. The Root Metrics reports for Vodafone are a disgrace, mass amounts of dropped calls in some cities and typically the slowest speeds. Now we learn they have the least 3G coverage of any network.

Does anyone know what Vodafone's response to this was?
I posted Vodafone's response in Post 8 but here it is again:

A Vodafone spokesman said: 'Our 3G licence includes an obligation to cover 90% of the population and Ofcom is fully aware of our plans to ensure compliance by the end of this year."


http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/News/27..._coverage.aspx
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