Federated Farmers has dropped Telecom in favour of Vodafone, ending a commercial relationship of well over a decade.
“I’ve been at Federated Farmers for 14 years and I don’t know that we’ve ever switched supplier before,” says telecommunications spokesman Anders Crofoot.
The parties had been working through a tender process for around six months.
Crofoot says Vodafone had suggested a number of changes Federated Farmers should make internally that saved the organisation a considerable amount of money.
He wouldn’t disclose the full value of the contract, which sees Vodafone become a premier partner. It will provide fixed line and mobile services to the Federation, while designing a tailored pricing plan for its full membership.
Vodafone replaces Telecom as a top-tier sponsor.
“It was an attractive offer they made,” says Crofoot. “They’re making a strong push into the rural market. They’re putting on a real push in terms of cellphone coverage.
“Vodafone claims it has equal coverage to Telecom, so it came down to services, quality and cost.”
Vodafone already supports organisations such as Young Farmers, Rural Women, Rural Contractors and the Rural GP Network.
Federated Farmers CEO Connor English says telecommunications and broadband are absolutely critical for rural communities and businesses.
“Federated Farmers advocated successfully for increased investment in rural broadband, greater competition and improved mobile phone coverage. We now want to see a sensible release of the digital dividend spectrum to ensure that our rural communities can participate fully in the advance of technology.”
Under the six-year Rural Broadband Initiative, Vodafone will deliver wireless broadband through 154 new cell sites and manage 387 upgrades to existing infrastructure. To date, there are 19 new RBI sites and 130 upgrades made to existing sites, servicing more than 80,000 address points across rural New Zealand.