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Friday, July 28, 2006

3G Coverage – Who Cares?

Certainly not OFCOM, after all the cash has been collected from the 3G auction.

OFCOM has updated today on how to calculate 3G coverage. I’ve no doubt this is due to Dean Bubley complaining last week about operator fudges:
In summary, Ofcom is seeking to measure the extent to which 3G services are available to the UK population where they live. Such services should, under normal circumstances, be able to provide a range of applications such as voice, text, video and multimedia services for outdoor reception with speeds up to 384kbps. Coverage to meet this obligation is expected to be primarily urban/suburban rather than rural.
So it’s official – it is outdoor coverage that counts (even though the majority of people use 3G services indoors). Even better is the definition of normal service, which is meant to deal with the concept of cell breathing:
The mix of services available at any location will depend on decisions taken by operators – for example about cell size and the number of simultaneous users supported. The proposed approach measures where a range of basic and advanced services are available under normal conditions, but recognises that this range may not be available there to all users at all times.
In other words, OFCOM will trust the design of the operators engineers. None of this would actually matter if the operators made a virtue or selling point based upon coverage and quality of service. None of them do (unlike one of the operator’s US subsidiaries) and so that about sums up their attitude to 3G and service differentiation.

You're going to reap just what you sow...