Our rural network

Bringing faster 3G mobile and broadband to rural New Zealand

Woman and man using a tablet in a rural setting

Bridging the digital divide for rural New Zealand

Rural-based New Zealanders need fast, reliable 3G mobile and broadband, so we're putting our networking weight behind the Rural Broadband Initiative. By constantly improving and extending our 3G coverage in country areas, our rural customers get better value from their mobile plans, smartphones and broadband connections.

We believe rural Kiwis must have access to fast, reliable 3G mobile and broadband services, just like people in towns and cities. We know how important being connected is for the social and economic prospects of rural New Zealand and we're passionate about making it happen. That's why we've teamed up with the Government and Chorus to get the Rural Broadband Initiative delivered.

As part of the Rural Broadband Initiative, the Government has ensured that all new towers built under the RBI are 4G-ready. We are starting to roll out 4G in rural areas and will continue to roll out super fast 4G across rural New Zealand over the next 5 years. This will bring ultrafast broadband speeds to rural communities.


Plans and Coverage

Our rural network is improving work and home life

Man working on a laptop next to a car

Better broadband - fixed and wireless

Our involvement with the Rural Broadband Initiative has increased internet speeds for rural Vodafone Fixed Broadband customers. Or, if you're living in a remote location, Vodafone Wireless Broadband could be the right solution for you. Your broadband is delivered using a high performance 3G wireless modem, boosted by a directional antenna. Find out more about Wireless Broadband plans.

Man talking on smartphone in the middle of a wheat field

Expanded 3G mobile coverage

Now that we've improved 3G coverage throughout New Zealand, there's never been a better time to upgrade to a smartphone.

More about mobile phones from the worlds biggest brands ›


Helping communities get faster broadband

Farmer accessing broadband on his laptop

Removing the digital divide

Our rural communities play a major role in New Zealand's economy. By providing fast, reliable connectivity, we can help remove the 'digital divide' that currently exists between rural and urban areas.


  •  Better staff retention in rural businesses and on farms
  •  Easier communication with family and friends
  •  Ability to access internet banking, shopping and hosted buiness applications (such as Xero)
  •  Improved access to emergency response - 70% of 111 calls are now made on cellular networks
  •  Better access to healthcare and health-related information
  •  Increased safety for teenagers and young adults, allowing them to stay in contact
  •  Easier access to online education opportunities
  •  Ability to use emerging applications and devices that could help businesses, such as sensors and meters for machine to machine (M2M) communication and monitoring.

Rural broadband initiative

Vodafone and Chorus successfully won a bid in April 2011 to roll-out faster broadband to rural areas over the next six years as part of the Government's 2010 Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) proposal.

What we've achieved so far

2 men at bottom of cell tower
  •  Coverage to more than 200,000 address points across New Zealand
  •  89 new 3G RBI cell sites (upgradable to be LTE ready)
  •  265 existing sites upgraded to provide better 3G mobile and RBI wireless broadband coverage

What we're working on

Cell tower
  •  Upgrade over 100 existing cell sites
  •  Build over 50 more RBI cell sites
  •  Add over 75,000 additional address points

When it's finished

cell tower at night
  •  154 new RBI cell sites
  •  387 upgraded RBI cell sites
  •  Projected incremental 6200 square KMs of new RBI 3G coverage
  •  Projected additional 4000KM of additional 3G road coverage
  •  More than 250,000 address points in new RBI 3G coverage

Network jargon buster

Here’s a quick-reference list of all the important mobile and network terms in case you wanted to know!

2G: Built in the early 1990s the 2G network is also known as 2nd generation. This is our original GSM network, which handles mobile calls only. We keep our original 2G network in great shape, and it works seamlessly with 3G and 4G for reliability and quality of service.

3G (standard 3G): Also known as 3rd generation, 3G refers to our fast mobile network that covers 97% of where Kiwis live, work and play. 3G provides mobile calls, mobile internet access, wireless voice telephony, fired wireless internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

Dual Carrier 3G (DC or DC-HSPA), 42 Meg: Technology that bonds two 3G channels together to provide a faster data session. It works like twin turbos on a car, doubling the speed at which data can be sent and received. Dual carrier 3G is available in many urban centres in New Zealand and works by combining two 3G channels (or "carriers") that operate at 21 Mbps (Megabits per second) download giving a total 42 Mbps. Actual speeds will vary depending on things like signal level, distance from the tower etc. 42Meg Dual Carrier (DC) requires a "Dual Carrier" device and is great for watching HD video clips and speeding up the mobile internet experience.

4G: Known as 4th generation or LTE, 4G is a high speed mobile data connection for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It provides almost instantaneous web page loading, faster photo viewing on Facebook and streaming media experiences without the wait. And if you're a business customer it means smooth video conferencing, seamless connection to the cloud, and no delays when using hosted applications. 4G launched in parts of Auckland in February 2013 and is being rolled out across the country.

U900: 3G on the 900MHz frequency band - used for rural and marine areas, where there's a greater distance between cell sites. It also provides better indoor 3G coverage.

U2100: 3G on the 2100MHz frequency band - used for urban areas, where every cell site has more traffic to manage.

Sure Signal: Sure Signal is a device that boosts indoor 3G mobile phone signal. It's great for Vodafone customers who suffer from 'low bars' at home or work.

UFB: Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) is a New Zealand government initiative to deliver fast broadband internet access, using fibre, to 75% of the population over a 10-year period. The aim is a minimum speed of 100 Mbps downloading and 50 Mbps uploading.