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Basics Edit

New Zealand has three mobile network operators:

  • Vodafone NZ
  • Spark NZ
  • 2degrees (2°)

Vodafone is the market leader with coverage over 4G/LTE, 3G and 2G networks. Spark is the next biggest mobile provider with 3G and 4G networks only (and no fallback to 2G) and good 3G coverage for devices that use the 850 MHz frequency (see below). 2degrees is a relative newcomer with less of their own coverage, but using free national roaming in limited areas with Vodafone for voice and some data offers. 2degrees has announced to shut off 2G by March 2018.

Vodafone and 2degrees claim coverage of 98.5% of the population using their 2G, 3G or 4G/LTE. Spark claims coverage of 97% of the population using their 3G and 4G network. Generally people rate Vodafone's network as the best, with Spark being a excellent alternative particularly in rural areas. 2degrees's network (even when including roaming on Vodafone) is considered sub-par but still good enough for most people.

Some MVNOs resell the services of the three MNOs, but focus mostly on triple-play products. Skinny, Skinny Direct and Warehouse Mobile focus on prepaid products.

Network Vodafone Spark
2G GSM 900 MHz n./a. 900 MHz (until

March 2018)

3G DC-HSPA

900, 2100 MHz

850, 2100 MHz 900, 2100 MHz
4G LTE

700, 1800, 2600 MHz

700, 1800, 2600 MHz 700, 1800 MHz

4G/LTE is now available in many cities and rural locations on Vodafone and Spark, while 2degrees 4G/LTE coverage is mostly in larger cities. 4G/LTE on 700 MHz is on band 28 like in Australia, Asia or Europe, not on bands 12-17 like in the US.

SIM cards in New Zealand don't need to be registered and some of them are sold with a top up ready for use at airports.

Vodafone Edit

Vodafone

Vodafone is still the market leader in New Zealand. It has a good overall network in 4G, 3G and 2G at a range of prices. Overall their network covers 98.5% of the population. It's 4G network covers 84% of the population in 2015. See their coverage checker for more information.

Availability Edit

Vodafone Prepay SIMs can be purchased at most NZ shopping malls and service stations throughout the country (store-locations). Vodafone currently offers this basic prepaid plan

  • Prepay & Go $5 for the starter pack without allowances included,

You can top-up with most international credit cards on your Vodafone account or buy vouchers.

Data feature packages Edit

Their standard line is called 'My Flex Prepaid'. Default data is $1 per 25 MB (which works out at $40 per GB).

The product has three sliders which allow you to select how much data, how many calls and how many texts you wish to have within a 28 day period. The different options that can be selected are as follows:

Data options Call options SMS options
100 MB 50 minutes 50 texts
250 MB 150 minutes 250 texts
750 MB 200 minutes 500 texts
1.25 GB 300 minutes Unlimited texts
1.5 GB 400 minutes
2 GB 500 minutes
2.5 GB
3 GB
3.5 GB

All minutes and SMS are to all AU/NZ networks.Using the Vodafone website you pick one of the data, call and text options and it will provide the price for that pack.

Vodafone promotes a 'Kiwi Favourite' pack for $19 which is comprised of 750 MB data, 150 minutes of calls and unlimited texts and to sign on to this package you'll need to select those options when picking a pack. The following prices are examples of different packs that can be topped up (but there are many other options when using the slider) :

Data Calls SMS Price
100 MB 50 mins 50 $ 11 (smallest possible pack)
250 MB 50 mins 50 $ 13
1.25 GB 50 mins 50 $ 19
3.5 GB 50 mins 50 $ 35
3.5 GB 500 mins unlimited $ 47 (largest possible pack)

Check this site to view the other different possible options. It's also possible to add on additional data to your package with the following packs:

Data Validity Price
300 MB 1 day $ 3
300 MB 7 days $ 6
500 MB 30 days $ 12
1 GB 30 days $ 20
2.5 GB 30 days $ 45

You can customize your plan at any time using the My Vodafone app. Simply go to ‘Plan & Add-Ons’ in the app and select ‘Manage my plan’. Here you’ll be able to dial up or down your data, mins and TXTs to suit your needs. Choose ‘Buy now’, to start the changes to your plan immediately, or select ‘Save changes’ to have the changes to your plan start after your next plan renewal. Your chosen pack will automatically renew if you don't stop it unless you don't have enough credit and over usage is chraged at the default rate of $1 per 25 MB.

NZ Travel SIM Edit

For tourists and visitors Vodafone offers a Travel SIM card:

  • $ 29: 1 GB of data, 200 mins voice to domestic and certain international destinations and 200 SMS domestic and international, all valid for 30 days.
  • $ 49: 3 GB of data, 200 mins voice to domestic and certain international destinations and 200 SMS domestic and international, all valid for 60 days.
  • $ 99: 8 GB of data, unlimited mins voice to & texts to NZ, 200 mins + 200 SMS to certain international destinations, all valid for 60 days.
  • $ 50: 3 GB of data valid for 90 days

Having used up all your included data, your service will be cut off for data usage.

To check data, SMS and minutes balances text "MYADDONS" to 756. To find out your number text "NUM" to 521, fbalance text "BAL" to 777.

You can add 1 GB extra to the voice and data SIMS for $20 by texting "BUY EXTRADATA" to 756 or by calling 777. The data-only SIM can be refilled with 2 GB for $45, 5 GB for $75 or 10GB for $140.

But you are advised strongly against doing this, since: 1. it's more expensive per GB then buying a new card 2. It's very complicated (first you have to put money in your account, and then you can buy the extra GB using a PIN code which is only provided in shops 3. Any leftover money in your account is not refunded to you).

Data-only SIM Edit

Their data-only SIM is aimed at tablets and routers and called Prepay Mobile Broadband. It's on 4G/LTE too. Starter price is $ 5 without credit for a triple cut SIM. You can add one of these packages:

  • Data 20 Add-on: 500 MB for 30 days: $ 20
  • Data 30 Add-on: 1 GB for 30 days: $ 30
  • Data 50 Add-on: 3 GB for 3 months: $ 50
  • Data 80 Add-on: 5 GB for 6 months: $ 80

Each top-up of $ 20 or more gives a 500 MB data bonus. For extra data, they offer boosts of 2 GB for $45, 5 GB for $75 and 10 GB for $140, each valid until your base plan renews at the end of the month.

SIM sizes Edit

Triple cut mini SIMs (standard), micro-SIMs and nano-SIMs are all available.

Tethering Edit

Available with no restrictions or extra charges.

More info Edit

Spark New Zealand Edit

Spark logo

Spark NZ, previously known as Telecom New Zealand, was once the public provider in the country. It is the biggest competitor and almost on par with Vodafone. Its network was once marketed as the XT Network. It has a good nationwide coverage of 97% on 3G, but no fall back to 2G. So use their network only, if you have a 3G capable device on 850 MHz (see above), which is not so usual in other parts of the world as their 2100 MHz is only used in towns as back-up. 4G/LTE has started in many city centres and is available on prepaid for free: coverage

Availability Edit

You can get their prepaid SIM card in their shops: store finder and lots of other places. Top-ups can be bought there or made online by credit card. You can also buy the SIM card after going through customs and picking up your bag at Auckland International Airport terminal and at the Christchurch Airport.

You can top-up with a prepaid voucher sold all over or by credit card online.

They sell starter packs in three monthly prepaid plans or a casual rate:

  • $ 5: without any credit
  • $ 19: including: 750 MB data, 200 domestic minutes, unlimited domestic texts and 1 GB per day WiFi
  • $ 29: including: 1.5 GB data, 300 dom. minutes, unlimited dom. texts, 1 GB/day WiFi per day

Data by default is charged at $1 per day for 10 MB. Additional data is then charged at $0.30 per MB. For cheaper data it's best to add a Value or Data Lover Pack (see below).

1 GB per day of WiFi data is available with the $19 and $29 monthly prepaid starter packs and all Value and Data Lover packs. This is quite useful as the Spark hotspots are commonly located in phone booths. You only need to sign in once, where they send you a code and then whenever you come across a Spark WiFi signal, you automatically log on.

Travel Pack SIM Edit

Spark also sell two different travel SIMs which provide domestic/international calls, texts and data:

  • $ 29 valid for 1 month including 1 GB data, 200 domestic minutes, 100 international* minutes, 200 domestic texts and 50 international* texts.
  • $ 49 valid for 2 months including 3 GB data, 200 domestic minutes, 200 international* minutes, 200 domestic texts and 100 international* texts

*international countries include USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, South Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Philippines, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.

The Travel Packs include the SIM card and are sold at all Spark stores including Auckland and Christchurch airports. Once the inclusions have been used the SIM card is unable to be reloaded with any addtional data or packs.

Value Packs Edit

Value packs are the best deal, if you want calls and texts includes, but when looking to get a SIM their Data Lover packs (featured in the next table) almost always provide better value. The Value Packs do provide some benefits as they all include a domestic call allowance and unlimited domestic texts. Data and call allowances are valid for 28 days and now roll over (up to 3.5 GB or 500 mins) provided you reload within the validity period and as mentioned earlier all value packs also provide 1 GB of Spark WiFi daily.

Price Calls Data Activation
$ 19 200 mins 750 MB BUY 19VPROLL
$ 29 300 mins 1.5 GB BUY 29VPROLL
$ 49 500 mins 4 GB BUY 49VPROLL

To activate, text code to 258. All packages auto-renew. To stop, text code to 258 and replace "BUY" by "END".

Data Lover Packs Edit

Currently Data Lover Packs represent the best value for short stays with high data usage on the Spark network. The two packs can be added to all Spark prepaid SIM cards for 28 days except for the Travel Pack SIM. Standard data now rolls over (up to 3.5 GB) provided you reload within the validity period (but Social data doesn't roll over).

Price Data Social Data Activation
$ 20 1.5 GB 1 GB BUY 20DATALOVER
$ 40 4.5 GB 1 GB BUY 40DATALOVER

Social Data can be used on Facebook, Messenger, Twitter or Spotify.

To activate, text code to 258. All packages auto-renew. To stop, text code to 258 and replace "BUY" by "END".

Data feature packs Edit

Spark also offers these data add-ons for prepaid valid for 28 days:

Data Price Activation
100 MB $ 3 BUY 5DATA
1 GB $ 15 BUY 15DATA
2 GB $ 20 BUY 20DATA

To activate, text code to 258. All add ons auto-renew. To stop, text code to 258 and replace "BUY" by "END".

For Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and Spotify only, they offer a social package at $9 per 28 days including 1 GB for these four applications. Activation: BUY 9SOCIAL to 258.

SIM sizes Edit

Mini, micro and nano SIMs are available.

Tethering Edit

Available with no restrictions or extra charges.

Roaming plans Edit

For roaming in selected countries these add-ons valid for 7 days are sold, on 4G/LTE too where available:

  • $15 for 500 MB data valid for 7 days.

To activate text "BUY DATAROAM" to 258. Excess data is $10 per 200MB blocks of data up to 14 blocks then $0.50 per/MB

Data is valid in Australia, UK, USA, China, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, UAE, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

More info Edit

  • APN: internet
  • Note: The 50% discount on Spotify including with some packs in only available with New Zealand Spotify accounts.
  • To check money balance, send SMS "bal" to 333
  • Website: http://www.spark.co.nz

2degrees (2°)Edit

2degrees

2degrees (occasionally written as 2°) is the smallest network and started business in 2009. It has coverage in populated areas and is rapidly expanding across the country. The previous roaming deal with Vodafone is slowly being phased out but some areas will still roam on the Vodafone network (2G & 3G only). Despite this they claim coverage of 98.5% of the population. For 4G it doesn't roam, but it has started its own network in the major cities. Its 4G network is available on prepaid plans for free: coverage

2G shut down Edit

2degrees has announced that it will close down its 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE network in March 2018. The providers 3G network (including roaming on Vodafone's 3G network) now provides coverage of 98.5% of New Zealand’s population. The 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies freed up by the 2G switch-off will be migrated to 3G and 4G services.

Availability Edit

2degrees prepaid SIMs are available at most supermarkets in bigger cities and their stores: store locator for a $5 startup price and are called "Prepay Plus". 

You can top up using a voucher sold at many locations or online by credit card. 

Data featured packsEdit

Default rate on all prepaid SIMs for data is $0.50 per MB. Two different types of packs include data, Data packs include Data only and prices haven't been updated in a while. Combo packs are newer with better prices and can like data packs can be used in any device but they also include calls/texts. To all prepaid SIM cards the following packs that include data can be added valid for 1 month:

Data Price Activation Deactivation
Data Packs:
100 MB $ 6 buy 100MB STOP 100MB
300 MB $ 10 buy 300MB STOP 300MB
1 GB $ 20 buy 1GB STOP 1GB
3 GB $ 50 buy 3GB STOP 3GB
Combo Packs:
150 MB* $ 9 buy 9Carry STOP 9Carry
1 GB** $ 19 buy 19Carry STOP 19Carry
2.5 GB** $ 29 buy 29Carry STOP 29Carry
10 GB** $ 49 buy 49Carry STOP 49Carry

All packages are valid for 1 month. To activate text code to 233. It will auto-renew after 30 days. To stop auto-renewal text deactivation code to 233.

* This pack also includes 50 minutes of calls and unlimited texts to AU/NZ mobile and landline numbers. Data and call minutes also roll over if a new pack is purchased within the validity period of the pack.

** This pack also includes 150 minutes of calls and unlimited texts to AU/NZ mobile and landline numbers plus unlimited calls to other 2 degree numbers. Data and call minutes also roll over if a new pack is purchased within the validity period of the pack.

All packs auto-renew (when validity expires or when almost all data has been used) but can be stopped by texting the code in the table. You can continue to use any remaining data until your pack expires. Excess data charged at the standard casual rate of 50c/MB.

Data Clock Edit

2degrees have recently released a new data product that offers unlimited data volume instead billed by time. Any 2degrees SIM is compatible with the service, but you will need to have a compatible iPhone or Android device capable of downloading the app from your devices app store. The app download requires internet access, but it can be downloaded ahead of time over WiFi.

Setting up the app is simple and it sends a verification code to your device to verify the phone number. Once activated your prepaid SIM will have casual data disabled to prevent credit being mistakenly used. This means that if you have an active pack with no data remaining, despite having credit you'll be unable to use data unless you disable the Data Clock app, purchase a timed data session or purchase a new pack.

A timed data session can be activated in the app using the credit on your SIM with the following standard prices:

  • 15 mins: $ 0.40
  • 30 mins: $ 0.70
  • 1 hour: $ 1.00
  • 2 hours: $ 1.50
  • 4 hours: $ 2.00
  • 8 hours: $ 3.00
  • 12 hours: $ 4.00
  • 16 hours: $ 5.00
  • 24 hours: $ 6.00

All of the timed sessions include an unlimited data volume (with an unknown fair use policy). Once a timed session has been started it's not possible to stop but it's possible to select multiple sessions at once. The app will also provide a notification when 10 minutes are remaining in the session. Currently tethering and mobile hotspot use are officially banned, but not enforced and some sessions only use 2G/3G networks instead of the 4G network depending on the area.

AU roaming packages Edit

For cheap roaming in Australia they offer 2 packages:

  • 300 MB for 7 days: $ 10
  • 500 MB for 7 days: $ 15

To activate text either "buy AUS300" or "buy AUS500" to 288.

SIM sizesEdit

Mini & micro SIMs available (push out cards offering both sizes).

TetheringEdit

Works fine with no restrictions on data packs, but it's officially banned (but not enforced) whilst an active data clock session is in use.

More info Edit

Skinny Mobile Edit

Skinny

Skinny is a MVNO owned by Spark NZ. Its business model is to offer cheap prepaid SIM cards at low prices, in defense to 2degrees. It uses the Spark network on 3G and 4G/LTE (see above for frequencies): Skinny coverage. Remember, that your device should be capable of 850 MHz 3G to use Skinny.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is available online to be sent to an NZ postal address or at their sales partners like The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, JB HiFi, Paper Plus, New World, Pack'n'Save, and Countdown. You will be charged $ 2 without any credit included.

Top ups are available at over 6000 retail outlets nationwide or by pre-registered credit debit card online.

Data rates Edit

Default data outside of package is $0.20 per MB. Their price model is quite complicated: You first have to activate a compulsory combo to be added by an optional add-on on this SIM. There are weekly or monthly combos.

  • weekly combos:
    • Standard: $ 5 - 100 MB data, 60 NZ minutes, 750 NZ texts
    • Busy Fingers: $ 4 - 60 MB data, 15 NZ minutes, 750 NZ texts
    • Loose Lips: $ 4 - 60 MB data, 60 NZ minutes, 100 NZ texts
    • Data weekly Combo: $ 5 - 250 MB data
  • monthly combos:
    • Text Unlimited: $ 8 - unlimited NZ text
    • Starter: $ 9 - 100 MB data, unltd. NZ text, 30 NZ minutes
    • Big Value: $ 16 - 500 MB data with rollover, unltd. Skinny mins and NZ texts, 100 NZ mins
    • Big Data: $ 26 - 1 GB data with rollover, unltd. Skinny mins and NZ texts, 300 NZ/AU minutes
    • Ultimate: $ 46 - 2.5 GB data with rollover, unltd. NZ/AU mins and texts

Combos renew every 7 or 30 days unless cancelled online. To these combos, the following data add-ons can be added:

  • for 7 days (available on all weekly and monthly combos):
    • 80 MB for $ 2
    • 200 MB for $ 4
    • 600 MB for $ 8
  • for 30 days (not available on weekly combos):
    • 500 MB for $ 10
    • 1 GB for $ 20 (not available for the $8 and $9 combos)
    • 2 GB for $ 25 (not available for the $8 and $9 combos)

You can even mix and match 30 and 7 day combos and add-ons. All 30 day and 7 day add-ons will auto-renew every 30 days or 7 days from purchase if your combo has auto renewed, is still active and you have enough credit to buy the add-on. If your combo failed to renew due to not enough credit but you reactivated it before your add-on renewal date the add-on will remain active and renew.

If you choose to change combo and move to a different monthly or weekly combo, your add-on will remain active and will still renew on its planned renewal date provided the combo is active and you have enough credit for the add-on.

If you want to purchase the same add-on more than once during your combo’s cycle, you'll need to cancel the existing add-on first and then purchase a new one using the Skinny Mobile Menu or our website. You'’ll keep any quota remaining from the original add-on until its expiry date. Your add-on renewal date will change to 30 days or 7 days from the time you purchase the new add-on.

If you have understood this combo and add-on thing, you will have low rates at a still good coverage in NZ. Their data-only SIM card has been discontinued.

Data Binge Edit

In response to the 2degrees data clock product, Skinny Mobile has released a similar timed data session add on which provides unlimited data for a specific time period.

Timed data sessions can be purchased through the Skinny Mobile app or by texting DATABINGE to 2424. Unlike 2degrees you don't have to use the app and therefore every mobile phone that can send/receive messages and use data is compatible.

Currently there are 4 packs:

Time period Price
10 minutes $ 0.50
1 hour $ 1.00
4 hours $ 2.00
12 hours $ 4.00

Similar to the 2degrees Data Clock, it's not possible to pause/stop a session once you've started it but it is possible to purchase multiple sessions at one time (e.g. two 12 hour sessions to provide 24 hours access for $8). Unlike 2degrees casual data is not disabled so when a timed data session ends data usage will be taken from existing add-ons or charged at $0.20 per MB.

The terms and conditions state that the data usage must be in a mobile phone and they don't define how much data can be used by it's considered "non standard use" by Skinny you may be disconnected.

NZ Holiday SIM Edit

Since 2017 Skinny also sells a Holiday SIM aimed at tourists. It's only available at Hub Convenience in Christchurch Airport and Paper Plus in Queenstown Airport at Arrivals/Departures. It comes in 2 sizes:

  • $ 26: 1.5 GB data, 100 mins and 200 SMS to NZ/AU, 100 internatl. mins for 14 days
  • $ 46: 3 GB data, 200 mins and SMS to NZ/AU, 200 internatl, mins for 60 days

Internatl. mins include calls to China, Hong Kong, India, UK, USA, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Netherlands or South Africa. For more allowances add a combo.

SIM sizes Edit

Standard, micro and nano SIMs are all available.

Tethering Edit

Available with no restrictions or extra charges.

More info Edit

Skinny Direct Edit

Skinny direct

MVNO Skinny lauched Skinny Direct as second brand in September 2016 with an even lower touch model. Like Skinny Mobile it uses the Spark network on 3G and 4G/LTE (see above for frequencies): Skinny coverage. Remember, that your device should be capable of 850 MHz 3G to use Skinny.

Skinny Direct is a different set of plans not interchangeable with their other brand. Generally, listings of online-only operators and rolling contracts are banned on this WIKI. So it's important to point out the differences to the other offers here. Skinny Direct is only sold online, but you can switch any Skinny Mobile SIM bought in shops to it. It's like a hybrid of pre- and postpaid: you'll have to link the SIM card to your credit card and it works like a rolling contract on a prepaid basis. So it's essential to cancel your contract online at the end.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is only available online and can only be sent to an NZ postal address only. But there is an easy bypass.

You can purchase a Skinny Mobile SIM card at their sales partners (for list see above) for $ 2 without any credit included. After registering the SIM with Skinny Mobile and before adding any credit, you can sign up online with Skinny Direct selecting "I want to keep my current number" and choosing 'Skinny' as your current provider during step 2 of the sign-up process (after choosing your plan). You'll get a text message from Skinny Direct confirming your number and after you've entered the confirmation code online you'll be good to go. You will need internet access on your device via a WiFi or on another device to use this process.

If you happen to use a pre-used Skinny Mobile SIM to be ported to Skinny Direct, try to use all your loaded credit before as this transfer will forfeit your previous balance.

Anyway, you will seal a rolling contract, not classical prepaid by linking it to your credit or debit card. The monthly plan fee will be deducted at the beginning of each month, until you terminate the agreement, regardless, if you are using it or not. However, Skinny Direct doesn't require a commitment beyond one month and can be cancelled online at any time. Thus you'll get the lowest prepaid data rates in the country right now.

Data rates Edit

There are 3 plans available all with unlimited Australian and New Zealand minutes and texts for a month:

  • 3 GB data: $ 30
  • 10 GB data: $ 50
  • 25 GB data: $ 65

Additional data for 30 days can be added:

  • 1 GB for $ 10

SIM sizes Edit

Standard, micro and nano SIMs are all available.

Tethering Edit

Available with no restrictions or extra charges.

More info Edit

Warehouse Mobile Edit

Warehouse mobile

Warehouse Mobile is the new MVNO of the biggest retail group in NZ. They started in 2015 on the 2degrees network using 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE with a slightly different price model.

Availability Edit

The SIM card starter is priced at $4 and available online to be sent to a NZ postal address or at more than 90 retail locations of the Warehouse Group in the country (store locator). To start, you have to put the SIM in your phone, dial 800 and follow the prompts.

Top-ups start from $10 and can be made online on your account (by NZ-issued cards and internatl. VISA cards only) or by using vouchers sold at Warehouse and 600 more locations, where you spot their logo. Top-ups now stay valid for 90 days and each further top-up extends validity.

Data rates Edit

Data is by default at 6c per MB. Recently, they've added data packages called Pick'n'go Packs valid for 31 days:

  • 500 MB: $ 4 - activation: text 'Buy 4Data' to 801
  • 1 GB: $ 8 - activation: text 'Buy 8Data' to 801
  • 4 GB: $ 30 - activation: text 'Buy 30Data' to 801

At the end of 31 days any unused data can roll over for up to 90 days if you purchase another data pack prior to expiry.

More info Edit

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