GUEST POST: Wireless Nation – Specialists in Connectivity for Motor Caravanners
This article was written by NZMCA member, Enrie Newman, for the Motor Caravanner magazine.
Motor caravanners are different.
We’re way more nomadic than those ordinary city people. We often start the day with no firm idea where we’ll spend the night. We’re compulsive travellers, internationally as well as locally. Some of us are often away from “home” for months at a time.
Our lives in many ways are quite simple. But when it comes to being connected to the Internet and phones, we’re as fussy as the rest of them. If something’s wrong we need it fixed – now.
That’s what telecommunications company Wireless Nation came to understand back in 2016. It saw an opportunity to add the NZMCA community to the shortlist of market niches to which it provides tailored solutions.
Wireless Nation has a fascinating history. Its founder, the personable and charismatic Tom Linn, started up in 2005. An immigrant from Myanmar, Tom was frustrated trying to get decent broadband in his high rise Auckland apartment. With a passion for solving challenges and armed with a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Auckland, Tom started by providing connectivity to Auckland apartment dwellers.
After starting with apartments, Tom identified rural dwellers as a second market niche. Rural New Zealand at the time had a seriously poor Internet dependent on antiquated copper lines. Yet as our economic powerhouse, farmers needed connectivity even more than city people. So Wireless Nation entered that market, using customised mixes of satellite, cellular and landline services to meet the individual needs of each customer – years before the mainstream phone companies got around to moving beyond the cities.
Next, with its talent for spotting poorly-served market niches, Wireless Nation set about understanding and serving New Zealand’s large and well-organised cluster of motor caravanners. A crucial issue for us is not wanting to pay for two completely separate services – one at home and one when away – when we are only using one at a time. Why double up? So just having one wireless modem that can be used on the road and when at home is so convenient! Plug into power – your choice of 12V or 240V and it works, easy as pie.
We also need to know that we have the very best connectivity each area can get, even in the most remote corners of New Zealand. And we need confidence that a phone call to a help desk will be answered within a couple of minutes, by someone who recognises the name of the place we are calling from and understands our specific needs when we say “motor caravan.” The call centre delay and soothing messages for which the giant phone companies have become famous are unacceptable when you’re in the middle of a downpour in Haast.
Along the way, Tom partnered with well-known business entrepreneur Bill Smale, allowing the business to grow and compete effectively against the telecommunications industry giants. They now have a team of around 25 including General Manager Andy Derleth, and Commercial Solutions Manager Jason Somerville. They’re an enthusiastic “can do” bunch who obviously enjoy working together.
Fast forward six years and there are thousands of satisfied NZMCA members using Wireless Nation for their Internet connectivity and voice services – at home as well as away.
So what do the customers think?
NZMCA member and Waikato branch secretary Des Austin is a fan. He’s been using the service for four years.
“I did away with the home landline once we joined,” Des told me. “We use the Wireless Nation modem in the motorhome as well as at home. In the caravan we have the option of 240 or 12 volt connections. We’re heavy users of the Internet for research, social networking and YouTube – often at home we have two or three computers online at once, and it works just fine. And when we have a problem or query the Auckland office always answers promptly and understands our needs – their support service is exceptional.”
(To test out the claims of timely service, I made a quick check while writing this article – 10.30am on a weekday morning. From picking up the phone, to speaking to a live technician, it took two minutes 21 seconds. Compare that with the industry giants!)
Des & Ruth Austin, NZMCA Members, and Wireless Nation customers.
NZMCA member Joye Halford has been a customer since 2019.
“My previous supplier was too inflexible,” she said. “I travel overseas a lot, but they wouldn’t put my account on hold even when I was out of the country for months at a time. And they understood nothing about the life and special requirements of motorhoming. Wireless Nation has been far more understanding and flexible.”
Many other members have posted their praise for the service on the Google reviews about Wireless Nation.
Sue Gollan’s comments are typical.
“I love this product, it has enhanced my travel experiences as I no longer need to worry about using my mobile phone for data.” she writes. “Plus I can unplug the modem from my motorhome on return from my holiday and use it at home. I no longer need to pay for an Internet plan that I wasn’t using while on the road. I have had no problems with the speed of downloads. I’m only sorry I didn’t get it sooner.”
Likewise, member Colin Wilson says
“I had been shopping looking for a mobile solution for travelling around the country. Wireless Nation provided an easy quality solution and now we have everything. Our energy system can be viewed remotely by our systems technicians, and we get all the online functions for our TV. It’s perfect.”
“Perfect.” That’s a high standard.
So does all that mean a high speed connection is available absolutely anywhere, anytime? Of course not – we all know New Zealand has its isolated areas that are notoriously hard to service. Their isolation is part of the appeal and motorhomers are experts at finding them. But within those constraints, Wireless Nation stands out as the very best option for our community with its unique character and specialised needs.
A win-win-win partnership
The relationship brings benefits to the NZMCA as well as to the members who use the service. Each year Wireless Nation contributes a six-digit sum to the Association based on the number of NZMCA members on its books, so that the Association can invest in more property and member benefits. And Wireless Nation is a supporter of many NZMCA activities – allowing them to stay up to date with members’ needs as well as sell their product.
It’s a relationship that works well for all parties – Wireless Nation, the NZMCA itself, and members. Bruce Lochore (CEO) of NZMCA has expressed how significant Wireless Nation’s portable WiFi option has changed the way some people live and work. The timing of this was at the same time people were reassessing their lifestyle choices, resulting in people choosing to work and live on the road. Long may it continue!
Get in touch with Wireless Nation today to find out the benefits of staying connected with Portable WiFi, at home – and on the road!