Golden chance for mobile at beach

By Patrick O'Sullivan

1 comment


Waimarama residents need to use their Cellsite On Wheels or lose it, says Waimarama bach owner Rod Drury.

Telecom rolling is providing a mobile cellsite for summer.

Rob Monteith, Hawke's Bay manager for Gen-i, Telecom's ICT Services arm, said residents and holidaymakers had been asking mobile providers for some time to offer mobile services at the beach, particularly during the holiday period.

Telecom has a small number of mobile cellsites which it uses as a temporary coverage solution for events such as the Rugby World Cup and Rhythm in the Vines in Gisborne.

"Telecom is fortunate that a [mobile cellsite] had become available at this time and the company is really pleased to offer this as a solution for the holiday period," Mr Monteith said.

"The 7-metre tall [mobile cellsite] will offer coverage to the Waimarama township and along the main areas of the beach."

"Not only will holidaymakers and permanent residents be able to stay connected with their family and friends over the Christmas period, our business customers who need to keep the ship afloat over the holidays will be able to work and play at Waimarama."

Mr Drury said the challenge was for Waimarama people to use it.

"If they can see the usage statistics then hopefully we can convince them to keep it on."

He said he found it difficult to run his multi-national business, Xero, from his Waimarama summer house without good cellphone coverage.

There was some coverage at the south end of the beach but it was patchy and "frustrating".

"It is hard to work out there if you don't get cellphone reception. I get about 30 calls a day," Mr Drury said.

Hawke's Bay telecommunications company NOW had provided good broadband to the seaside community but cellphone coverage was lacking.


"You have to leave a message on the phone and say, send an email and you'll call back over your broadband. You do so much on your mobile now, it is so instantaneous. It was hard to stay out there and do work. Now with the mobile it is just so much easier," Mr Drury said.

"When Telecom looked at this a few years ago it looked like the Ocean Beach thing was going to happen [residential development]. My understanding is they put their investment into that and then it didn't happen. So it would still be quite an investment for them to get the connectivity all the way out to Waimarama.

"So the best thing people can do, if they want to keep it, is to use it."

Mr Drury has another strategy for maintaining the service.

On the website Fruitbowl he suggested camouflaging the site "so the engineers can't find it at the end of summer".

Telecom SIM cards would be on sale for $5 at the Waimarama beach store for the service that was due to end in February.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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