TE KAHA will soon receive extended network connections for three major providers.
Formed by Spark, Vodafone and 2Degrees, the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) is erecting a wireless connection tower in Te Kaha this month.
The tower will provide connections for both mobile and wireless broadband, which includes texting and voice calling for compatible devices.
With construction work set to be completed later this month, all services are projected to be available from mid-March.
RCG engagement manager Caitlin Metz said the tower at Te Kaha would be the first set up by the RCG, with eight sites to follow.
“The Te Kaha facility is positioned at the Horizon compound in Copenhagen Road and provides excellent coverage to the Te Kaha township and coastline,” Ms Metz said.
She said the tower and the extended coverage had been in the works by herself and acquisition manager Jessica Lethaby for the past nine years, and she was excited to see it moving forward.
“We are delighted to be able to bring connectivity to Te Kaha with the support of the community,” she said.
Ms Metz said for existing mobile users, the extended coverage would come at no extra cost or changes, however, those looking to make new connections would need to contact their provider to organise this.
Other sites across the district are planned for Kutarere, Wainui, Torere, Tirohanga East, Otara, Omaio and Whanarua Bay.
Ms Metz said these towers would also give users access to 4G network voice calls, new for New Zealand.
“This is the first time 4G voice calling has become available in New Zealand,” she said.
“Currently in New Zealand voice calls on mobile phones are made using the 3G network, even if you have the latest release smart phone.”
If users’ phones are not compatible, however, Ms Metz said this could mean a software update or handset upgrade would be required to make and receive calls.
“Voice calling will be still be available to those using an older generation mobile via internet-enabled applications,” she said.
These include Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Viber and more.