As thousands of holiday makers head to their favourite NZ summer destinations and events over the Christmas period, Spark is deploying over 60 temporary cell sites to support the expected rise in demand for mobile data.
Spark’s Physical Infrastructure Lead, Rob Berrill said that people are increasingly keen to share their awesome summer experiences with friends and family online, particularly during the summer months while visiting their favourite holiday destinations.
“To help make sure our customers have an excellent mobile experience on our network year-round, each summer we deploy temporary cell sites, either cell sites on wheels (CoWs) or cell sites on platforms (CoPs) to provide a boost in locations where we predict there will be surges in mobile data use,” said Berrill.
And this year will be no different as temporary sites are deployed in Coopers Beach, Snells Beach, Kinloch, Picton, Twizel and Mangawhai where visitors flock year after year to enjoy the best of what a Kiwi summer has to offer.
Festival and concert goers will also be supported, with sites being deployed at over 40 events, including Northern Bass in Mangawhai, Hidden Valley Festival in Matakana, Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne and Bay Dreams in both Nelson and Tauranga.
Berrill said it was great to be able to keep Kiwis connected, regardless of where they’re travelling to this summer.
“The sharing of these great experiences online also promotes local businesses and tourism, as the best of the quintessential Kiwi summer is showcased across popular apps like Instagram and Facebook.”
He said that the increased capacity on Spark’s network in these popular destinations means people can continue to enjoy their favourite streamed shows and sports whilst on holiday.
Spark is seeing unprecedented growth for digital services in general with data usage increasing by over 700% since 2016. Berrill said figures of data use during Boxing and Christmas Day were up 33% from 2017 to 2018.
“We’ve recently completed our biggest-ever wireless network upgrade, with capacity enhanced by approximately 80 percent over the past two years, so many holiday destinations which would normally require a boost, won’t need a temporary site this year.”
Leading up to summer, Spark and its team of engineers, planners and site managers predict areas that will require extra coverage before working on the logistics like resource consents, power, transportation and site commissioning.
Those using state highways will also experience better connectivity on their travels thanks to the addition of permanent cell sites, deployed by the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), which is bringing 4G mobile and wireless broadband coverage to rural New Zealand.
Notes to the editor
- Cell sites on wheels (COW) are portable mobile cellular sites that provide temporary network and wireless coverage to locations where cellular coverage is minimal or restricted. COWs can also provide fully-functional service, via vehicles such as trailers, vans and trucks, to areas affected by natural disaster or areas where a high number of people are expected in a small area, such as major events.
- Cell sites on platforms (COPs) are also portable mobile cellular sites that provide temporary network and wireless coverage. However, the main difference is that COPs do not have wheels, can support more equipment and are designed to remain in place for a longer period of time than COWs. They are delivered and setup with a Hiab truck.
- The Rural Connectivity Group is a joint venture between Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees. To date, over 145km of New Zealand’s state highways now have 4G mobile coverage, and this is expected to rise to 1000km by December 2022.