Both O2 and Vodafone look likely to miss their ambitious mobile coverage targets for this year. The operators wanted 98% of the UK population to have 2G, 3G and 4G coverage by the end of 2015 but it now appears they won’t achieve it.
In 2012, Vodafone and O2 agreed to combine their infrastructure to make it cheaper and faster to roll-out 4G. The hope was that they could meet telecoms regulator Ofcom's target of 98% 4G coverage two years ahead of the 2017 deadline.
Unfortunately, new figures published by Mobile News show that the operators have only achieved 63% population coverage, so the chances of reaching that goal appear slim.
O2 says that it is spending £1.5million a day to improve its network but admits that it's now focusing on achieving 98% population coverage by 2017.
A spokesperson for Vodafone said: "We recognise the importance of mobile connectivity which is why we spent more than £1billion last year on our network across the country and will spend a similar amount this year.
"However, we are also very aware that in certain areas of the UK it may be more difficult to deliver the level of coverage our customers expect. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as the geography of the area and difficulties in finding sites following discussions with potential landlords."
EE and Three share 14,200 masts in a similar agreement to O2 and Vodafone. EE's 4G network serves more than 74% of the UK population, while Three currently reaches around 55%.
Source: Mobile News