It took less than three months for Vodafone Wi-Fi calling to hit 10,000 users.
Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling hits early milestone
Vodafone says it has 10,000 customers using its Wi-Fi Calling service. It took less than three months to reach that
milestone; the service began operating in September.
Wi-Fi Calling lets Vodafone customers make voice calls and send text messages in places where there is no mobile signal
but there is Wi-Fi coverage.
This makes it popular in rural areas and also inside buildings where the mobile coverage is weak.
It replaces the older Vodafone Sure Signal service which is due to shut on December 10. Sure Signal is now ten years
old. It is based on 3G mobile technology.
This has upset customers in rural areas. A report in the Whanganui Midweek newspaper says Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is disappointed to hear that Vodafone is closing Sure Signal service.
They say it will leave many rural customers without a mobile network.
Sure Signal expanded Vodafone’s network reach into rural New Zealand for a decade. The company says it is less important
now thanks to the Rural Connectivity Group towers being installed. These now reach many areas that were previously
without mobile coverage.
To use Vodafone Wi-Fi calling customers need a Vodafone mobile account and a compatible phone. There are 46 phones that
can handle Wi-Fi Calling. Most are newer models, but the technology can be used on an older iPhone 6S that has the
latest iOS 15 installed.
N4L survey finds schools confident protecting students online
Nine out of ten New Zealand schools say they are confident in their ability to protect students online. Despite this,
schools face many challenges including access and internet reliability problems.
These are among the findings of a survey of 550 schools commissioned by Network for Learning.
N4L CEO Larrie Moore says the results show schools and kura need support with online safety, remote learning and
managing technology. He says that leaves them "free to teach and ākonga are free to learn.”
Close to nine out of ten schools (86 percent) ask students to sign internet use agreements (86%). Almost as many (84
percent) use web filtering. They also bring in guest speakers, host training workshops, and provide other professional
development opportunities for teachers to boost their school’s online safety efforts.
Schools say they know students can find ways around filtering technology and that popular websites such as YouTube can
display age-inappropriate images and videos. They worry about cyber bullying issues outside of school that can lead to
issues in the classroom.
Meanwhile teachers report that it is hard to oversee classroom device use with students able to quickly flick between
open tabs when the teacher approaches.
Pandemic school closures highlighted the importance of the internet for learning and the challenges facing schools.
Three quarters said there were problems with access to devices (77 percent). A similar number (73 percent) said students
had trouble accessing the internet at home. Almost one in seven (69 percent) reported students saying their home
internet connection was unreliable.
Broadband Compare names awards finalists
Winners of the NZ Compare Awards will be announced on February 16. The finalists for the best wireless service provider
category are Farmside, Gravity Internet and Wireless Nation. The shortlist in the value broadband category are 2degrees,
Contact Energy, Now Broadband, Flip and Sky Broadband.
Farmside, Gravity Internet, Lightwire and Woi Satellite Internet make up the finalist for the best rural service
Now Broadband, Orcon and Sky Broadband are the shortlist for the best fibre service provider category.
Kacific introduces mobile backhaul for Pacific
Kacific has introduced a satellite backhaul product for mobile operators, ISPs and telcos in South-East Asia and the
Pacific. The service covers 25 countries including New Zealand and Pacific island nations. Speeds are up to 200Mbps.
Opposition launches tech policy process
Hours before former opposition leader Judith Collins was removed from her job, she launched a tech policy paper which
may yet be lost in the party turmoil.
Collins’ original aim was to hold a tech summit early in the New Year.
One idea in the paper is to extend the reach of the UFB network to 90 percent of the population and to make sure every
New Zealander can get broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps.
Australia’s Treasury moves on Consumer Data Right
As expected, Australia’s Treasury has proposed extending the country’s Consumer Data Right to cover the
The move means retail telcos will have to hand over key information to customers allowing them to make better choices
about the products and services they buy.
It would also allow customers to ask retailers to give the data to rival retailers. That way, they could make improved
offers to those customers.
Kate McKenzie to chair NBN Co
Former Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie will take over the chair at Australia’s NBN Co in January. She will replace Ziggy
Switkowski who is stepping down after eight years in the role. McKenzie was a Telstra executive before joining Chorus.
Warren Williams joins REANNZ board
Dr Warren Williams, CEO of the 20/20 Trust has joined the REANNZ board. REANNZ Chair Janine Smith says he has
contributed to the sector through his involvement in Vision Mātauranga and Te Mana Raraunga – Māori Data Sovereignty
In other news…
CommsDay reports the US National Science Foundation is looking at building a submarine cable connecting New Zealand’s South Island to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
Spark Sport has picked up the rights for FIBA (International Basketball Federation) competitions through to 2025.
Gartner says worldwide phone sales dropped
6.8 percent in the third quarter of 2021. The research company puts that down to component shortages and lack of
availability, not falling demand.
New Zealand organisations are spending more on software. A report from IDC says spending on software is up 20 percent year-on-year. The biggest gainer is conferencing and team
The Download 2.0 is a free weekly wrap up of New Zealand telecommunications news stories published every Friday.