27 Sep 2013

Telecom to extend free WiFi network

7:41 pm on 27 September 2013

Telecom is about to extend free WiFi access to its customers from October, through 700 hotspots at selected public phone boxes and through more than 2000 hotspots by the middle of 2014.

The WiFi will be available free to all Telecom mobile customers on monthly plans as well as to those on its $19 and $29 pre-paid packs.

Other Telecom customers, customers of other mobile networks and visitors using a New Zealand or Australian mobile will be able to access Telecom's WiFi network for a flat fee of $9.95 a month.

Telecom says a feature of its WiFi service is that one-time registration gives access to the entire network.

Telecom Retail head Chris Quin says his company wants to encourage its customers to use as much data as possible.

The company says the rollout will give it a competitive edge, and help the company retain and attract new customers.

The move is part of Telecom's strategy of moving from being a fixed-line to a mobile and data-rich network provider.

Mr Quin says the WiFi network is cost effective to provide because it makes use of existing public phone boxes and Telecom's backhaul network, which takes the load off its celluar network.

The Telecommunications Users Association has praised the plan.

Chief executive Paul Brislen says it will help people travelling around the country the most, particularly tourists.

He says WiFi accessibility in New Zealand overall still lags behind other countries.