Urenui, give us a call

17:00, May 13 2014

A new cellphone tower in Urenui means the Taranaki town's residents will have more mobile options.

The 25 metre monopole was the first in Taranaki to be switched on as part of the Government's Rural Broadband Initiative under which Vodafone will build 154 new towers in rural parts of New Zealand.

Urenui residents Alan and Shirley-Anne Managh said the new tower wouldn't make much difference to them, as they already had cellphone reception through Telecom, but Shirley-Anne said it would be good when their kids, who were with Vodafone, came to visit from out of town.

"Vodafone users could get no reception except for the odd spot in Urenui. This will make a heck of a difference," Alan said.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said the tower would have the company's own electronic equipment on it, but other companies would be able to put equipment on it as well.

A Telecom spokeswoman said the company had committed to co-locate equipment on all Vodafone towers built in areas that did not already have mobile coverage available through Telecom.

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According to Vodafone, the new Urenui tower would make mobile coverage and wireless broadband available to more than 930 households in the area for the first time.

Two new towers were planned for the New Plymouth area over the next two years - at Oakura and Hurworth.

Vodafone had also upgraded five of its existing seven sites in the New Plymouth area.

Sites at Omata and Koru Rd would be upgraded in the next 12 months.

Taranaki Daily News