Mobile Connection In New Zealand

New Zealand is on the other side of the world, so on arrival, we recommend that you purchase a SIM card from a local mobile operator immediately. The card will allow you to reduce the costs of calls and mobile Internet. As a rule, it is sometimes difficult to prepare in advance for the choice of a mobile operator. We decided to investigate this issue in detail and collect all the useful information.


Mobile operators

There are three main mobile operators in New Zealand with their own networks:

In addition, there are so-called virtual ones (VMNO), which use the networks of the above operators and sell their plans at a reduced price by saving on the lack of points of sale and customer service:

The international code for New Zealand is + 64. The country mobile number prefix is ​​”02″, followed by seven to nine digits. The first few digits after “02” indicate the original mobile network that issued the number.

Features of mobile networks

First of all, it should be said that mobile operators are focused on providing stable communications in settlements but in uninhabited areas, in vast national parks and in mountainous areas, communications can be unstable or completely absent. For this reason, mobile coverage of the whole country can be only 50%, while the coverage of settlements reaches 98.5%, depending on the operator and network level.

By the way, there is no paid roaming within New Zealand. The cost of mobile services is the same throughout the country, regardless of which network you are currently connected to.

Where to buy a SIM card

You can buy Spark, Vodafone & 2Degrees SIM cards almost everywhere, from the international airport and service points of telecom operators to grocery stores and gas stations. The cost of a SIM card will start at $ 5.

SIM cards of virtual telecom operators can also be purchased from a few sellers, but the easiest way is to order on the provider’s website. In this case, the SIM card will be sent to your specified postal address.

A SIM card does not need registration, and to start using it, just insert it into the phone and wait for activation.

Balance replenishment (Top-up)

After you have inserted the SIM card into the phone and waited for its activation, you need to top up the balance, you can do this in three main ways:

  • Payment by credit card. Using the card, you can make a payment by going to your personal account on the provider’s website. Also, in your personal account or at a customer service point, you can set up automatic replenishment of the balance from a bank card account.
  • Purchase a voucher. You can do this at any supermarket, local grocery store, or at any gas station. Purchase a voucher from your mobile operator for the top-up amount you need, and then follow the instructions on the voucher.
  • Payment through the cashier. This type of replenishment is usually available at most grocery stores in the city. You pay the top-up amount to the cashier, and he gives you a check with a code, which must be sent by text message to the number indicated in the check.

Choosing a plan

Don’t postpone choosing a plan for later. After activating the SIM card, by default, the money will be debited in accordance with the fixed cost of the operator’s services, which is several times more expensive than on the plan.

You can choose a plan at customer service points with the help of a consultant, or on your own, in your personal account. However, in the latter case, when choosing some tariff plans, for example, with payment after the service (pay monthly), you may be asked to enter a local ID (New Zealand license, passport or Kiwi Access card). otherwise, all the same, you will have to visit the point of sale of your operator. The above does not apply to virtual operators. Skinny allows you to choose any tariff online with an international passport number.

When choosing a tariff plan, among other things, we advise you to pay attention to the Roll Over option, which allows you to transfer unused minutes and Internet traffic to the next period.

Prepaid rates (Prepay)

Prepay is the most common, and in many ways justified, choice for those who have just arrived in the country. By default, your balance will be spent in accordance with fixed prices for everything you use (for example, 20c per minute of conversation, 10c for SMS and 20c for MB). By purchasing a data package (for example $ 20 for 200 minutes, 250 texts and 1 GB of data for 1 month), you will receive a prepaid volume of services that you can purchase as needed, the main thing is to keep track of the availability of money on the account. On prepaid plans, you don’t have a contract and you can stop your plan anytime you want without any fees.

Pay monthly

Monthly tariff plans are a more profitable way to stay in touch for those who plan to be in the country for more than a couple of months. At these tariffs, it is not necessary to constantly monitor the balance; at the end of the service period, the subscriber receives an invoice to pay for the service. The most convenient way is to set up automatic debiting of funds from a bank card. Since the payment for the service is made after its provision, to switch to this tariff plan, most likely, you will need to visit a customer service point.

The contract

A contract is usually a way to save money on buying a phone. Under the contract, you are obliged to use a certain tariff plan of the telecom operator for 2-3 years. The telephone, in this case, costs you at a cost lower than in retail. The price difference can be up to 25%. In case of early termination of the contract, you will be asked to pay the amount you save on your phone. Also, the contract may contain a penalty for its early termination. You can only use this kind of offer if you have a resident visa or a New Zealand passport.

Choosing a provider


In all more or less large settlements, stable 4G coverage has been achieved from all three major providers. Therefore, if you do not plan to live or travel a lot far from civilisation, then you most likely will not feel the difference in both availability and quality of communication. In other cases, coverage maps of providers’ networks will help to determine the choice of a mobile company:

One way or another, the main competitors constantly declaring their advantage in coverage – Spark and Vodafone have approximately the same coverage rates: about 98.5% of settlements. 2Degrees loses out somewhat when it comes to 4G. The 3G network (including roaming in the Vodafone 3G network) provides coverage for the same 98.5% of the population of New Zealand.

Operator tariff plans

The service of comparing tariff plans is offered by the Glimp website. Here you can get information on the operators in the greatest demand among the population of the country. But, we advise you to check the availability of additional plans and offers directly from the operators since not all relevant information is displayed on this website.

Mobile Internet

Almost all operators offer a standard option to purchase additional packages of mobile Internet data. Moreover, there are additional options:

  • 2Degrees offers its subscribers the opportunity to use the Internet for 1 hour a day for free, for this, you need to install the Data Clock application on your smartphone, with which you can purchase data sessions for the time you need. In addition, in summer, the company invites subscribers to take part in an augmented reality game and collect up to 10GB of additional data to their account using the Data Hunt application. The collected gigabytes can be used for a year.
  • Skinny Mobile also provides the ability to purchase additional data sessions. The cost starts at 40c for 10 minutes. Temporary data sessions can be purchased through the Skinny Mobile app or by texting DATABINGE to 2424.
  • Spark offers pleasant additions to active users of social networks Spark Socialiser: 1GB of the Internet for Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and Spotify (Spark’s music service) for $ 9 for 28 days. Activation: BUY 9SOCIAL at number 258. In addition, Spark provides its subscribers with the opportunity to use 1000+ free WiFi zones throughout the country.
  • With Vodafone Pass, you can get unlimited traffic to social networks, chats, music or videos starting at $ 5 per day. On Fridays, the Fantastic Fridays promotion is available, providing additional Internet traffic and discounts. For example, film lovers will be interested in the offer of $ 11 tickets for movie shows in cinemas of the country (do not forget to check the list of participating cinemas).

User rating

In 2018, 2Degrees received the highest rating in the Most Satisfied Customers category for the fourth year in a row. According to research resource Canstar Blue, 2Degrees is the best mobile provider on all points except coverage, for the solution of the latter the provider uses the Vodafone network.

At the same time, Skinny can be called the most budget-friendly mobile option for those who spend most of the time in the city. In addition, if, due to an insufficient level of English, you are not ready to communicate with store managers, Skinny like other virtual providers will be an excellent option since you can order a SIM card with delivery to a postal address and select the desired tariff plan online.

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