Poor cellphone reception in parts of Coatesville sparks concern

Cell phone coverage is causing frustration in Coatesville.
MATTHEW CATTIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Cell phone coverage is causing frustration in Coatesville.

Weak connection and black spots in cell phone coverage is causing frustration in parts of an affluent North Auckland suburb, even prompting investigation into to putting in a landline at the local hall.

On a community Facebook page, Coatesville residents said they had experienced issues with providers Spark, Vodafone and one with 2degrees.

Areas of concern were highlighted at Coatesville Village, Mahoenui Valley Rd, Glenmore Rd and areas of the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway.

A landline was looked into for Coatesville Settlers Hall.
Amy Baker

A landline was looked into for Coatesville Settlers Hall.

Coatesville is known for its palatial mansions and houses but residents said Spark reception in the village was particularly troublesome.

Concerns had also prompted research into installing a landline at Coatesville Settlers Hall.

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Fernielea Cafe owner Rain Chen said Spark reception at her cafe had been an issue.
Amy Baker

Fernielea Cafe owner Rain Chen said Spark reception at her cafe had been an issue.

Hall custodian Mary Logan said due to cost, a landline won't be installed, however was grateful that a direct link to the fire service had been put in by the council.

Fernielea cafe owner Rain Chen said getting Spark reception at her cafe in the village was also a problem, and customers had to go out to the carpark to get reception.

Business owner Rachel Taylor of Sunnyside Rd used Spark and said both cellphone and internet was poor throughout the area, however wasn't sure of getting better connection with Vodafone due to trees.

Some residents on the Coatesville community Facebook page said they had resorted to extreme measures to get connection.

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Michelle Hansen said she has to go and sit on the toilet to get the best reception.

"Signal drops in and out constantly, even on a blue sky day, so you can't blame the weather!" she wrote.

A resident, who has lived in the area for 17 years, said she had to put her phone on the windowsill to look for reception - a method which worked for Spark but not for Vodafone.

Spark spokesman Sam Durbin said in a statement Coatesville was served via towers in Dairy Flat and Riverhead.

At Dairy Flat, the signal has to pass over and between a couple of hilly areas which causes some service degradation.

There is also currently an issue with tree obstruction, which may be further degrading coverage.

Durbin said 4G on 700MHz enabled at the Riverhead tower will improve data services in that region, but this may not have much effect on calls.

He also pointed out in areas where coverage for any provider is low, cell phones will use whichever network has the strongest coverage for emergency calls, such as 111.

He said Spark is currently exploring options for adding new coverage for Coatesville.

Vodafone spokeswoman Susan McGregor-Bevan said in a statement, while the village had good levels of coverage, the surrounding area has some "patchy coverage" due to the hilly terrain.

The village was served by the Coatesville cell site, which would be upgraded to 4G this year.

The upgrade would improve site capacity and speeds offered, she said.

2degrees spokeswoman Lucy Reed said in a statement the network have "good coverage" in Coatesville but with any network, coverage would depend on a number of factors, including where exactly a customer lives.

Reed said the company would be happy to discuss specifics with a customer in terms of what would suit them best.

 - North Harbour News

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