BEREC Common Position on information to consumers on mobile coverage
In fulfilling their duties, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and competent authorities (CAs) monitor mobile coverage of licensed spectrum in bands identified for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT). Each NRA uses different means to provide information on national mobile coverage, which may constitute an obstacle to a consistent approach in presenting mobile coverage both for public policy and for consumer information. In the latter case, there is a greater emphasis on accessibility of mobile coverage information via different means (e.g. a map, apps, etc.). There are benefits to achieve a common understanding on how mobile coverage can be defined and measured for information purposes, see section 1.1.
In 2017, BEREC conducted a public consultation on a preliminary report in view of a Common Position (CP) on monitoring mobile coverage. This report aimed at facilitating a common understanding through better defining key concepts, baselines and accessibility of information; and fostering a consistent approach on how mobile coverage information can be made available and understandable among NRAs and to the public throughout Europe.
Following on from last year’s work and taking into account the comments received from the public consultation, BEREC continued its initial work of 2017 with the aim of establishing a set of future-looking CPs that achieve a common understanding on how to provide information on mobile coverage, and how it can be defined, measured and reported.
In 2018 and to meet this aim, BEREC gathered expertise from European NRAs through a survey entitled “Practices in Europe Regarding Monitoring Mobile Coverage”. BEREC received the contribution of 33 NRAs which constitutes a solid basis that depicts a clear picture of the current state of methods to monitor mobile coverage in Europe.
As the BEREC preliminary report (BoR (17) 186) already stated the answers of the consultation pointed out two main reasons why mobile coverage monitoring would be necessary, namely,
- to assist in ensuring mobile network operators (MNOs) meet their coverage obligations. Some NRAs monitor the level of mobile coverage provided by operators to assess if they comply with any relevant coverage conditions and obligations set out in their licences. This can help ensure that mobile spectrum is used to deliver greater geographic and population coverage in particular in rural areas, which can have a positive impact on the reduction of the digital divide.
- to provide highly-accessible independent and reliable information on the state of mobile coverage in their respective countries. Such information is often made available by the NRAs to consumers; respective policy makers and/or national governments; the European Commission; industry and wider public.
In this document, BEREC will focus on the latter, concentrating on facilitating the provision of useful information to consumers, leaving the principles of mobile coverage obligations and associated specification processes outside of its scope.
In order to achieve this goal and as an outcome from studying the range of current NRA practices, BEREC provides in this document the following four common positions on informing consumers about mobile coverage:
- CP1 – Technical specifications for providing relevant and comparable information on mobile coverage to European consumers;
- CP2 – The use of signal predictions for mobile coverage estimation;
- CP3 – Ensuring the accuracy of coverage information provided to the public; and
- CP4 – Availability and presentation of mobile coverage information.
These CPs have been developed for outdoor coverage of mobile services only. They are underpinned by the initial BEREC work of 2017.
 BEREC launched a consultation on its draft Preliminary report on monitoring of mobile network coverage on 11 October, 2017, in which it sought input from stakeholders, particularly, on the list of characteristics for mobile coverage and on the key features of maps identified in the draft Preliminary report.