Ofcom Publishes 3G Measurement Plans

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has published the methodology that it proposes to use to determine the extent to which the 3G mobile network licensees – O2,Vodafone, Hutchison 3G, T-Mobile and Orange – have complied with their obligation to roll out services. Under the terms of their licences, each is required to cover 80% of the UK population by 31 December 2007.
Ofcoms proposed approach is intended to measure the availability of each licensees service which should, under normal circumstances, be able to provide a range of applications such as voice, text, video and multimedia services.
Ofcoms methodology, which is subject to consultation, is as follows:
Ofcom will assess coverage on the basis of data about base stations supplied by the licensees and population data from the 2001 Census. It will use planning tools to perform an engineering analysis of the signal strength receivable at outdoor locations. This will be supported by sample measurements around to the UKto verify the results.
Ofcom expects all licensees to meet the obligations in their licences, but it considers guidance on enforcement action is helpful to reduce regulatory uncertainty. Todays statement follows a consultation in 2005 which attracted nine responses on this point. The content of the guidance is broadly unchanged from the consultation.
The proposed methodology is subject to consultation and can be found, along with Ofcoms final guidance on the enforcement of rollout obligations, on the Ofcom website.
The deadline for responses is 20 October 2006.