Clive Ormerod, GM of Customer and Marketing for Spark Home Mobile and Business said Spark had been amazed by the success of wireless broadband with “15% of Spark and Skinny broadband customers now on wireless broadband in just over a year – an awesome growth story for a newcomer product”.
Spark is the first major New Zealand telecommunications provider to trial portable wireless broadband. Ormerod said the trial, with 100 existing wireless broadband customers nationwide, would help assess demand for a portable product that could be used in more than one location in the future.
Although wireless broadband runs off the mobile network, a wireless broadband modem is ‘geo-locked’ so that it only provides service at one location. However, Ormerod says that, right from launch, customers and commentators asked if Spark would unlock modems to make wireless broadband portable.
“What we’ve already seen is that there is a significant appetite for this service. We had many more applications from customers wanting to be on the trial than we expected.”
Over the peak summer period, thousands of Kiwis leave the major cities and towns to enjoy time off at a rental, a bach or a campground. For instance, last summer, Spark network data showed that nearly a quarter (23%) of Aucklanders left the city in the days following Christmas.
For wireless broadband customers Toni and Paul Cooney, being on the trial means they can search recipes, read the paper, check the bank balance and Skype their daughter overseas from their Orewa beach house using their wireless broadband from home instead of phone data.
“We just packed it up in Auckland and plugged it in here and we were online within a couple of minutes. We haven’t had broadband at the beach before and we’ve always felt disconnected or worried about using too much data on our phones,” said Toni Cooney.
The couple say they wanted to be on the trial because they’ve been thinking about the best way to stay online when they’re at their holiday home on the weekends.