Collaboration between local internet provider Uber Group and Vodafone brings mobile coverage to Waipoua Forest
Waipoua Forest is one of Northland’s major tourist attractions – remote, beautiful and home of NZ’s largest kauri. Its remoteness is what gives it its magic, but mobile phone coverage is non-existent with the nearest signal miles away. Fast broadband, though, has been a reality for some time at the Visitor Centre in the heart of the Forest and local homes nearby, via the service from Northland-based wireless internet provider Uber Group.
A joint venture between Vodafone and Uber Group now means that the Waipoua Forest Visitor Centre has full 3G mobile phone coverage. The two companies have worked together to sponsor the community project – Vodafone providing the physical hardware, an enterprise grade ‘Sure Signal’ device; and Uber Group supplying a separate broadband connection dedicated to phone traffic.
While the two companies compete for broadband customers on a daily basis, the collaborative effort is a real boon for locals and tourists alike who can now get a decent Vodafone signal up to 150 metres from the Visitor Centre provided they have a 3G or 4G capable phone. Over 30 mobile calls can be connected at the same time.
Waipoua Forest Visitor spokesperson Jaime Clarkson says the Centre staff and local residents are really excited to have the Vodafone Sure Signal and the extra Uber Group connection at the Visitor Centre.
“Cell phone reception was non-existent before and the nearest coverage is 8km away.
“Now we are able to make and receive mobile phone calls, text messages and use data from in and around the Visitor Centre. This has had a really positive impact with our tourists who can now communicate in what was otherwise a dead mobile area and stay in touch with the outside world.”
Smaller and cheaper ‘Sure Signals’ can be used in residential situations to boost mobile phone reception where coverage is limited. The system works by using broadband data from a compatible internet provider to boost a weak or non-existent cellphone signal.