BT and Vodafone Set to Be Probed About How Good Their U.K. Mobile Coverage Really Is

(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s communications regulator is investigating inaccuracies in mobile coverage claims by BT Group Plc and Vodafone Group Plc.

BT’s carrier EE overstated its third-generation wireless coverage in predictions provided to the regulator, particularly in rural areas, Ofcom said Tuesday in a statement. Vodafone, in contrast, understated its 4G coverage, especially in rural areas, Ofcom said.

Coverage data from carriers help consumers pick their provider and the information is also used to inform policy and by a wide range of stakeholders, the regulator said.

EE, the U.K.’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, said in a statement that it has updated its 3G coverage map with feedback from Ofcom, with only minor changes in some areas. There would have been a difference in predicted data coverage for a very small number of customers in specific areas, EE said.

Vodafone said it appeared to have inadvertently under-reported the extent of its coverage, in a statement. The company said that’s because data it has been submitting is adjusted to reflect the signal customers actually receive on their mobile phones, while Ofcom reports on the theoretical strength of the signal at the location of the handset.

Ofcom began the probes on Monday and said it will look at whether Vodafone and EE failed to comply with their legal obligations, with the aim to finish gathering evidence by the end of December.

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