Spoke Cheviot: VoIP support for rural businesses that don't have high quality WiFi or 4G data.

by Nina Quasebarth
June 22, 2018

Spoke Phone's Cheviot release brings VoIP / PBX virtual business phone systems to rural businesses wanting to improve customer experiences.

VoIP and cloud telephony is great if you've got good WiFi or 4G data. The troubles start when you don't. Dropped calls, broken up voice, delays, and echos are just some of the issues.

For years New Zealand small businesses have been at the mercy of high priced business telephony. With the advent of virtual or cloud PBX systems, higher quality calls and lower prices became achievable - unless you were in a rural area.

For rural companies and those in areas where fibre or consistent 4G had yet to reach, they were stuck using traditional and expensive business phone solutions and landlines.

In 2018 Spoke Phone, a startup based in Auckland, launched a next-generation business phone system that turns mobile phones into a business phone system. No longer did companies need wires, landlines, or hardware.

“We like to say that Spoke turns mobile phones into your business phone system. If we’re going to say that, then Spoke better work wherever Kiwi’s walk, run, or drive.” says Jason Kerr, CEO of Spoke Phone.

97% of New Zealand companies are small businesses. They work in all corners of the country doing all kinds of creative things, and provide 28% of the nations GDP.

“The reality was that Spoke worked great for city slickers and those lucky enough to have good WiFi, but if you were off the beaten track, we needed to up our game. This latest release makes Spoke's mobile business phone system promise a reality.” continues Kerr.

"For Spoke to say that we're a business phone system for mobile companies, then  it better work wherever mobile businesses go." - Jason Kerr, CEO @ Spoke Phone

Just how big is the problem?

Some companies are a natural fit for a mobile business phone system. Companies like the Stan Semenoff Group in Whangarei for instance, a large organization employing over 150 people across three different transportation businesses, a logistics/bulk warehouse and several sand and scoria quarries.


The Stan Semenoff Group have people in the head office (who have access to great WiFi), and over 70 trucks on the road. Those truck drivers don't have WiFi, 4G, or even 3G some of the time. A mobile phone based business phone system makes a lot of sense for the Semenoff team.

"Spoke has won us over with their easy setup process, no long-term contract option, both office and mobile connectivity options, NZ based friendly staff and support, and last but not least, the financial savings we were able to make compared to our last phone setup." - Carlo Lang, Company Accountant

Poor WiFi or 4G data infrastructure is not an issue limited to just rural New Zealand. Some companies in our major cities are faced with similar issues too.

For instance, infrastructure in some areas of Christchurch is taking time to get back up to speed after the earthquake. And all around New Zealand many companies struggle to get good WiFi or cellular data coverage in their buildings, due to dense concrete and steel construction or other environmental factors.

Solving business telephony for rural New Zealand

Spoke’s latest release solves these issues and provides New Zealand small businesses an affordable and reliable way to connect to their customers - no matter where the job takes them.

Spoke solves this by working in two modes depending on your environment. HD calling (using VoIP) for when you’ve got great WiFi or 4G data, and carrier calling that uses your carrier’s voice network for when your data signal is not so good.

One of the unique things about Spoke is that you can downgrade from HD calling (using VoIP) to carrier calling while on a call, and carry right on talking.

With cloud phone systems and VoIP in general, your WiFi or data strength can drop during calls, negatively affecting call quality. Perhaps you’re walking around town, driving, or maybe your office WiFi is a bit temperamental. You’ve probably experienced this problem before.

With Spoke you are able to start a call in the office on WiFi, and continue talking while you jump in the car and drive away. You can carry on talking uninterrupted as the office WiFi drops off and 4G picks up. As you drive further, perhaps the 4G network drops down to 3G and your call quality degrades. If this happens, you can tap a button on Spoke to immediately switch the call over to your carrier’s voice network and carry on talking. Pretty nice.

“The New Zealand infrastructure and environment forced us to solve some large technical challenges. We live in a rugged country at the end of the earth. We knew if we could make Spoke work here, it would work anywhere in the world.” - Jason Kerr, CEO @ Spoke Phone

No matter where you go, there you are

Spoke works in two modes depending on your environment. 

  1. HD calling (or VoIP) for when you’ve got great WiFi or 4G data
  2. Carrier calling that uses your carrier’s voice network for when your data signal is not so good

In this release we've significantly upgraded Spoke to offer customers without reliable WiFi or cellular data, much more capability and a far better user experience when in carrier calling mode.

Introducing the enhanced carrier calling suite

In-call downgrade

Swap to carrier calling mode if your WiFi/data drops during a call


Say "Yes" to answer

Answer carrier calls easier and faster


Report a call

Help the Spoke community to improve call quality where you work, rest, and play


Permanently set your phone to carrier calling mode 

For users who are always in remote or challenging locations


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