Feeds

The 3G coverage picture that can't be published

Ofcom says no

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Today's victory for mobile operator Three against Orange in their advertising spat shouldn't obscure a bigger problem - we don't know the true extent of mobile coverage. Ofcom knows, but won't say.

3G coverage is increasingly important now, with mobile broadband dongles affordable and ubiquitous, and thanks to the iPhone, mobile users are increasingly using data-rich applications. As the ASA's judgement noted, they'd love to resolve such disputes on empirical evidence, but can't:

"Ofcom did not issue specific data, guidance or otherwise, for population coverage within the geographical areas covered. 3G population coverage figures were collected and distributed by each of the mobile networks.

"We understood that Ofcom conducted its own 3G population coverage modelling, based on information from the operators about the location of their 3G transmitters, in order to establish whether each of the 3G networks had met the minimum threshold of coverage required to meet the obligations of the 3G licence.

"We also understood that although Ofcom publicly consulted on the methodology they would use to measure 3G population coverage, it did not publish the specific findings on the population coverage achieved by each of those networks."

Ofcom published a 3G map of the UK, and that's thanks to the persistence of former business journalist Simon Fluendy, acting in his capacity as a civilian. The regulator initially told Simon to sod off, throwing two regulations back at him. But look how useful the map really is in practice:

That's Vodafone coverage in South East England. Thanks, chaps.

As many of you know, Ofcom already has a mine of information in searchable database form. What it's refusing to do is make that data graphical. It literally won't draw a picture.

While the operators may (or may not) offer individual coverage maps of varying degrees of quality and consistency, Ofcom's refusal to think of things from the customer's point of view means we lack the information that allows us to make comparisons useful - and that would such stop such claims being made in the first place.

I'm reliably informed that Ofcom's strategy to survive the Tories is to reposition themselves as a "consumer focused" agency. We suggest this would be a start. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?