UK mobile operator 3 admits to poor broadband coverage

Mobile operator Three (3) has admitted that the 3G Mobile Broadband coverage of its network is not as good as it should be. The operator has now begun temporarily removing sales of Mobile Broadband kit from stores located in areas where coverage does not meet its own internal standards. In addition, users unable to gain even basic web and email access will also be able to exit their contracts or receive a discount.

Then perhaps Three (3) should not have put the 'Broadband' part after 'Mobile' because people expect broadband to do exactly those things and much more. As for claiming to have never said they'd be able to compete with "high-speed fixed broadband", well we can't see much evidence from their past marketing that they put much effort into educating customers about that.

However we must commend Three (3) for coming clean with the reality of its coverage problems and offering effected customers a way out. It's understood that the operator will use its network sharing deal with T-Mobile (T-Orange if you prefer) to improve coverage in areas that suffer from related problems.

Davies warns that it is not the only operator to suffer these pitfalls, indeed we've heard plenty of consumer stories about buying Mobile Broadband USB Modems (Dongles) only to find that the service is virtually unusable in their area. Davies admits that not enough emphasis was placed on checking coverage first.

It's interesting to contrast this news with the remarks made by Three (3) UK's Director of Technical Solutions, Phil Sheppard, during July. Sheppard claimed that its Mobile Broadband service could be a "viable alternative" to fixed land line broadband ISPs and it would be possible with only a relatively small investment (original news).

As usual much of the reason for all this is the lack of balanced and accurate marketing by all of the major Mobile Broadband operators. Coverage is just part of the problem, with most if not all operators suffering under somewhat of a capacity black hole that their small revenues are unable to plug.

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