Extra 3825km2 of cell coverage delivered to rural areas

  • Amy Adams

An area the size of 450,000 rugby fields has been added to the country’s cell network in just two years, says Communications Minister Amy Adams.

Thirty-four new cell towers have expanded coverage by an extra 3825 square kilometres to rural areas previously without coverage.

The new towers are a result of requirements set in the auction of the 700 MHz band of radio spectrum, won by Spark and Vodafone in 2014. Under the auction agreement Spark and Vodafone were required to build new towers in new rural areas in the first five years after the purchase.

“Thirty four towers were completed by the end of the second year, which is four sites more than required by the auction agreement. Seventeen have come online in the last year,” says Ms Adams.

“This is a great effort by Spark and Vodafone, and they are on track to meet their 2019 deadline.

“People living and working in rural and remote areas are now able to use mobile phones in places where there was previously no coverage. Not only is this essential for emergency situations, it’s a key component in supporting the economic development of rural New Zealand.”

Many of the new towers are 4G capable and are delivering better coverage and increased network capacity for New Zealand’s regions.

“This project is being driven by the private sector, and complimented by the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative which is about to begin its second phase of development,” says Ms Adams.

“Improving connectivity in rural areas is a priority for this Government and an essential part of helping all New Zealanders in the fast evolving digital economy.”

The 34 new cell towers


Year 2 (2016)

Year 1 (2015)


Beaumont, Shingle Creek, Cornish Point (Central Otago), Mount Alexander (North Canterbury), Whakapapataringa (South Waikato), Glen Murray (Waikato), Methven (Canterbury)

Catlins North (Southland), Waihau Bay (East Coast), Tapawera South (Tasman), Otautau (Southland), and Millers Flat (Central Otago).



Orere Point (Firth of Thames), Palliser Bay (Wairarapa), Upokongaro, (Manawatu), Raupunga (Hawkes Bay), Knoll Ridge Café (Ruapehu), Lake Okareka (Tarawera), Port Waikato, Aria (Waikato), Te Kao (Far North), Hector (West Coast), Naseby (Central Otago), Waikaia (Southland)

Castle Hill (North Canterbury), Awhitu North (South Manukau Heads), Porangahau (South Hawkes Bay), Glen Murray (South of Port Waikato), Barrytown (West Coast), Maihiihi (Waikato), Kaniere (West Coast), Gladstone (West Coast), Karamea (West Coast), and Kaiaua (Western Firth of Thames).