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3G or not 3G?

With more and more people using mobile networks to access the web, Ofcom has for the first time published UK maps of 3G coverage.

3G (or third generation) services allow people to connect to the web via a mobile network, either directly through a mobile phone or by plugging a USB modem (or 'dongle') into their PC or laptop.

Millions have signed up for mobile broadband deals, with over two million new connections between February 2008 and February 2009 alone.

The maps* will let you see at a glance the 3G coverage across the country on the Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and 3 mobile networks.

Mobile sector assessment

The 3G coverage maps are published today alongside the second phase of our mobile sector assessment.

It reveals that consumers are increasingly giving up landlines in favour of their mobile phones.

Click here to read more about this, as well as the rise of the SIM-only contract.

The mobile sector assessment also sets out our work in ensuring UK consumers continue to benefit from a thriving mobile sector.

For example, while mobile network coverage in the UK is generally good, some problems persist, particularly in rural areas.

That's why Ofcom is focusing on persistent so-called 'not-spot' areas - areas of poor or no reception - and working where we can to facilitate better mobile coverage.

This work will see us assist the Government on its proposals to make more spectrum available for mobile broadband as well as the work to improve 3G coverage on key transport routes.

New research

We will carry out new research to explore the technical quality of the services consumers receive from mobile devices - such as mobile broadband speeds, for example.

Ofcom will also investigate the causes of some persistent mobile coverage 'not-spots' and work with public bodies to consider how to resolve these issues.

You can read more about our work in our mobile sector assessment. 


* The 3G coverage maps were prepared in January 2009 and used to establish the mobile operators' compliance with their 3G licence obligations.

This data was not collected for the purpose of examining detailed mobile coverage and therefore the availability or quality of mobile services cannot be assumed from these maps.

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