Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown plans to fix the region’s mobile phone blackspots

New Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

Ricky Wilson / Recipe

New Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

Recently elected Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has announced plans to fix the region’s black mobile phones.

In a statement on Sunday, Brown said he had written to the chief executives of Level 2, Spark and Uni NZ (formerly Vodafone) offering to work with them to remove Auckland’s mobile phone bills and outgoing calls.

He also asked phone companies how he could help them improve their service.

In general, mobile coverage in the largest cities is good. There are parts of Auckland where there is poor cellphone coverage and so-called dead zones (areas where there is no cellphone signal).

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Brown said people should be able to walk everywhere in Auckland’s CBD, other major business centers and public highway 1 without having to skip a call.

“It’s my job to work with 2degrees, Sparks, One, CIP and others to not only aspire, but to experience everything Aucklanders do every day.”

RICKY WILSON / REPORT

Wayne Brown gives his first interview with Stuff as Auckland’s new mayor.

In a letter to firms, Brown while campaigning for a greater “constant” source of complaint black stage mobile-coverage and the resulting rate of dropped calls.

“Aucklanders are right to be frustrated that mobile coverage in the city is substandard and limited,” he said.

Brown said when he knew the government’s mobile Black Spot Fund program was releasing upgrades in Auckland, it was “not enough”.

“I would like to know what additional support is available, and whether the central government will give you the regulatory and other support that you require in order to offer service coverage in Auckland.”

Brown asked to provide information about what was being done to identify and address mobile phone coverage, and the rate of dropped calls across the country.

“While other concerns about transportation or cost of living did not appear to be prominent, concerns about network coverage were very high on the list of those raised with me.”

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) chief executive Paul Brislen said the telecommunications sector had received Brown’s input.

He said while Aoteaora had one of the highest investment rates in telecommunications in the OECD, it could always do more.

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) chief executive Paul Brislen said Mayors' input had been received.

Lawrence Smith/Stuff

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) chief executive Paul Brislen said Mayors’ input had been received.

“It is vital that digital infrastructure is treated as a priority alongside other forms of infrastructure and we welcome the opportunity to discuss this with the new council.”

By the end of the year, mobile network operators will provide coverage to 99.8% of the population.

Instead, funding the network to deploy in remote or low-density areas, a model of co-investment between the public and private sectors, Brislen said.

“While the new regulatory environment is being introduced, it’s vital that we have certainty around the rules and process for developing network assets, because maintaining an ongoing mission of work is essential for our mobile network operators.”

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