Vodafone escapes hefty Ofcom fine for 3G failings

Vodafone bosses are breathing a sigh of relief after Ofcom confirmed that the network provider would not be fined for missing 3G coverage targets across the UK.

Last year, the telecoms regulator set a deadline of June 2013 for all Britain's major operators to offer 3G coverage to at least 90 per cent of homes nationwide.

02, EE and 3G all met the targets, but Vodafone fell just short of the finish line. As the summer deadline passed, the company had the capacity to serve just 88.6 per cent of UK homes.

A ticked-off Ofcom met with Vodafone soon after and drew up plans designed to drag the operator's figures up to scratch by the end of the year. Failing to do so would result in a hefty fine, but luckily for Vodafone, it rose to the challenge.

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

With all major operators now safely up to 3G speed, Ofcom is now turning its attention to 4G. 02, for instance, has pledged to cover 98 per cent of the UK population with 4G when indoors by 2017.

Ofcom regulators will also be busy over the coming weeks writing up a report on the quality of mobile and reception coverage across the nation. Its findings should be revealed in Spring.