Ofcom has today published the methodology it will use to assess the 3G coverage levels of mobile network operators that sign up for new 3G licence conditions.
On 20 December 2010, the Government directed Ofcom to revise the coverage obligation specified in the current 3G licences should the Licensee request a variation to the term of their licence. The key requirements of the revised obligation are that by 20 June 2013, the licensee must provide an electronic communications network:
that is capable of providing mobile telecommunications services to an area within which at least 90% of the population of the UK lives (this represents an increase from the existing 80% population coverage obligation in the current licences); and with a 90% probability that users in outdoor locations within that area can receive the service with a sustained downlink speed of not less than 768 kbps in a lightly loaded cell.
Ofcom has worked with mobile network operators to reach a consensus regarding a coverage obligation verification methodology.