Fresh research from Ofcom highlights the UK has a mountain to climb in terms of ensuring ubiquitous coverage to mobile networks.
Coverage maps drawn up by the regulator show that almost one million UK households are unable to access 2G services from all four of the nation’s GSM operators, while 7.7 million lack a choice of the country’s five 3G operators. The Scottish highlands and mid-Wales are the worst areas for 3G reception, due to hilly terrain and sparse population.
Ofcom’s research shows that 97% of premises can access 2G signals from all four operators, leaving 900,000 without ubiquitous coverage. In 3G, 73% of premises are covered, while landmass coverage of 13% is far lower than the 66% achieved by 2G signals.
The regulator states the information will contribute to its decision on how to spend £150 million (€174 million) recently allocated by the government to address mobile not spots, which forms part of its 2011/12 annual plan.
Coverage of digital terrestrial television currently stands at 89%, while public service digital audio broadcast radio can be accessed by 91%.
Ofcom also discovered that the average Britton consumes 17Gb of data per month on fixed broadband connections, equivalent to eleven films per month, and 0.24Gb per month on mobile broadband. The rise in demand for fixed-line access is evidenced by figures from the London Internet Exchange, which has seen a seven-fold increase in traffic on its network in the past five years.
Mobile broadband users typically consume 0.24Gb per month