OPINION: Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor was fortunate enough to be out of the country when his 'Fit for a Better World Progress Update 2021' was released at Fieldays.
Statistics released by Spark New Zealand shows Fieldays-goers have been using record amounts of mobile data to surf the net and stay connected with colleagues and friends throughout the first two days of the four-day event at Mystery Creek.
Across the first two days of Fieldays, Spark New Zealand saw more than 200GB of mobile data uploaded and downloaded by customers over the course of the day - surpassing last year's mobile data use on day one by more than 130%.
Head of network investment & capability for Spark Connect, Hannah Walton says: "In just the first two days of Fieldays we've seen incredible amounts of mobile data traffic passing through the Spark mobile network – more than double the amount of 3G and 4G mobile data used by customers at last year's Fieldays event.
"Of the 200GB of mobile data used by customers on the network across day one, around 80 per-cent of that data was downloaded telling us its likely customers are doing things like checking emails, using the Fieldays app to find that coveted stall or punching in a quick google search of a product to check they're getting the best deal."
"Mobile devices are now a key part of farmers' lives, not only in the home or at the farm dairy but also at big events like Fieldays. Running a farm is a 24/7 business and seamless access to mobile data ensures customers can stay connected with friends, family or colleagues manning the farm while they're in town."
Not only has Spark New Zealand seen a large increase in demand for mobile data at this year's event but it has also seen a sizeable increase in the appetite of customers wanting to find out more about their connectivity options at Fieldays.
"When we look back to our conversations with customers two years ago at Fieldays we would've fielded a handfuls of queries each day from customers interested in finding out more about their mobile coverage options. This year the difference is stark. In the first two days we've already had hundreds of customers visit our stand purely to talk more about access to faster 4G mobile data and their eligibility for new services like Rural Wireless Broadband. This further reinforces to us how vital faster mobile connectivity is for customers throughout regional and rural New Zealand." says Walton.
Spark New Zealand plans for and significantly invests in mobile network infrastructure to improve the capacity, speed and coverage at big events like Fieldays.
"We've got a team of engineers monitoring the Spark mobile network around the clock. We know this is a crucial event for the development of New Zealand's agricultural sector so it's key we keep customers and exhibitors sufficiently connected throughout the four days.
"And, as we head into the weekend and expect to see further surges in mobile data usage we'll continue to monitor the mobile network closely to ensure customers can surf the net freely and keep in touch with family and friends throughout the event," says Walton.