Orange and 3 squabble over coverage claims

The ongoing war-of-words between Orange and 3UK over which operator has the best 3G coverage has become more inflamed with 3 claiming it has the best network and contesting Orange's recent advertising campaign stating that it was the 3G leader in coverage.

3 has now said it will send its latest results to the UK telecom regulator Ofcom, the Advertising Standards Authority and Orange this week to prove Orange's campaign was misleading and inaccurate. 3 says Orange compared 3G coverage statistics from their websites, which at the time said Orange had 93 per cent population coverage whilst 3 had 91 per cent.

How 3G coverage is measured is at the heart of the argument with 3 claiming that Orange's comparison is unfair, since it measured population coverage differently. Its own findings were based on more "conservative methodology," which took into account "geographic clutter" that could affect coverage within a cell site area, said 3.

The company said that, since boosting the number of its cell sites to 10,105 (compared to Orange's 8,000 sites), coverage had increased to more than 93 per cent in the process. Furthermore, 3 expects to have around 13,000 sites by October, increasing its coverage to around 98 per cent.

Responding to these accusations, an Orange spokesperson said: "Covering 93 per cent of the population, the Orange 3G network covers more people in the UK than any other network. The figure 3 has published on its website shows we have a greater 3G population coverage than it does and, at the time of going to press with our advert, we felt this was something to shout and to tell our customers--and theirs--about."

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