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Kiwi car rental firm drives Wi-Fi tech push

Thrifty Car Rental customers will be able to access the internet from wherever their rental car takes them in New Zealand.

The Wi-Fi Hotspot technology will allow travellers to access the internet via the Vodafone 3G network without incurring large roaming charges and costly bills. Up to five devices such as smart phones or tablets can be connected.

Thrifty's General Manager Emma Gardiner says the technology will make it easier for those visiting New Zealand to stay connected and access information about their travels without the “bill-shock” from roaming charges.

“Having reliable, fast access to the internet has become an essential tool for international visitors," Gardiner says. "Previously this has been a challenge.

"Having a hotspot will mean visitors can surf the net for travel info - where to eat, stay, visit, as well as catch up on social media, Skype home, download and play anywhere on their journey. It will also be useful for those doing business in New Zealand.

“With the exception of a few remote places, such as National Parks, which don’t have mobile internet coverage the hotspots will provide internet access to almost all New Zealand destinations.

"It is also a lot faster than the internet access at many New Zealand hotels.”

Families or a small group travelling together will benefit from Thrifty, allowing up to five devices being connected and having access to 150MB of data per 24-hour period (NZ$12.50 incl. GST).

The palm-sized battery-powered 3G device provides up to five hours of mobile usage. It is portable, so it can be used away from the rental vehicle in accommodation and while visiting attractions, shopping or dining.

The new Wi-Fi hotspot units will be available from Auckland Airport, Auckland City, Wellington Airport, Wellington City, Christchurch Airport, Queenstown Airport and Queenstown City locations.

Remember the rules: Netguide and Thrifty encourage responsible driving and reminds all drivers that it is illegal to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving or while stopped with the engine on.