I'm heading across the ditch in the new year and wondering which telco would be better for coverage. I'm tramping in the Douglas & Lockett Ranges and using Nelson as the base. From the coverage maps, I'm not expecting much on the tops (and obviously nothing in the valleys) but hopeful I could pick up enough signal for a txt (from Takaka cell, maybe). Does anyone have a suggestion? The maps make Vodafone look better (than Spark) for Nelson - they look similar for out on the tramps.
As a rule of thumb, hikers in NZ generally assume on having no coverage at all. Always take a locator beacon. If you must keep in touch with people out there you are probably going to need some kind of sat device.
Vodafone and Spark have similar coverage but areas exist where one is better than the other and vice versa. Both pretty good until you leave all the people behind then you take your luck. Signal can happen in some very unexpected spots but dont count on it. 2 degrees has good coverage in the cities and has a roaming arrangement with vodafone in areas without 2 coverage. If you have a 4g capable phone your best bet is to bring it over and buy a prepay sim on both networks. If one doesnt work swap sims and you might get lucky. Only $20 each and is saves roaming charges which can only be described as criminal
Thanks guys - aware of all of that. I was chasing 'on the ground' knowledge along the two ranges - not expecting any coverage and certainly not relying on it. Although, geeves, I hadn't thought of buying both Spark and Vodafone - good idea, thanks.
Also, whilst probably not the reason you're asking, remember that you can make an emergency call through any network for which you have coverage, regardless of having a SIM.
I'll put the call out to my Takaka/Motueka contacts to see if they have any experience of coverage in these regions.
Thanks Izogi, aware of that - won't be relying on a phone for emergencies - we'll have two PLBs with the group. Thanks honora, I thought I'd email PK if I didn't have enough info from here. I have found a couple of trip reports mentioning coverage around Ceasars Knob so I suspect a few of the high points will also have some limited service too.
@bernieq: From brother Brian, he says: Should be able to get signals from place to place along both Lockett and Douglas Ranges because there are several transmitters about. The Spark and Vodafone maps will give an indication. Earlier this year I was able to send a text from Yuletide Mauricio says he would not hold much hope for coverage in those ranges but the best person to ask is Paul Kilgore. I've emailed Paul already and hopefully will hear back from him soon.
Great - thanks honora. That sounds better than I had expected. We head out over Yuletide so might be able to txt the transport people. In fact, if the weather is good, thinking of camping at that little tarn on the TR down from Yuletide. Both telco maps don't show any coverage south of Caesar Knob although Vodafone gets closer than Spark. Thanks again - owe you a beer ..... or soy milk 😊
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