Mobile service providers fined for not reaching coverage

The National Telecommunication Authority (ANCOM) imposed a fine of RON 1.61 million on the four biggest mobile service providers in Romania – Vodafone, Telekom, Orange and RCS&RDS. The providers have failed to honor the obligation they took in their license agreements, namely to reach 98 percent coverage in the country’s populated areas for mobile voice services.

According to a statement published on Tuesday, the telecom regulator has conducted tests to verify coverage in a total of 13,400 localities as well as on 246,000 kilometers of public roads. The authority concluded that none of the providers had achieved the agreed upon 98 percent coverage for mobile voice services. ANCOM has published the results of the field tests on its webpage. As Executive Manager Cristin Popa stated, they intend to repeat the tests in the near future, and providers can expect financial sanctions until they fulfill their contractual obligations.

As ANCOM reported, measurements carried out between May and September 2019 proved that Orange managed to provide mobile voice services to 97.81 percent of Romania’s total population; Vodafone, 97.76 percent; Telekom, 96.53 percent; and RCS&RDS, 95.42 percent. Accordingly, RCS&RDS received a fine of RON 800,000; Telekom, RON 700,000; Vodafone, 60,000; and Orange, RON 50,000.

As per the valid license agreements, Orange, Vodafone and Telekom should have achieved the 98 percent coverage by April 5, 2017, while RCS&RDS should have fulfilled the same by April 5, 2019.

Full mobile service coverage for the entire territory of the country is near-impossible in Romania, as it has many mountainous region where the cost of installing relay towers would be prohibitive.

Title image: The National Authority of Telecommunication carried out measurements in every locality with at least 10 residents

Author: Éva Zay