O2 has finally met the 3G coverage obligation that was part of the licence it acquired in 2000 for providing mobile broadband.
On Friday, Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, said the operator had now rolled out 3G coverage to at least 80 percent of the UK population, as it was obliged to do.
Ofcom warned O2 in February that it was the only 3G licensee to have fallen short of that target, and threatened a £40m penalty. However, O2 is in the process of a £500m upgrade to its 3G networks — largely in order to increase speeds — which has allowed it to reach the 80 percent target laid down by Ofcom.
Ofcom will check again at the end of the year that all operators are still adhering to their coverage requirements. It seems likely that all will comply, due in part to the network-sharing deals recently signed between many of the operators.