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Best prepaid SIM card for New Zealand

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Buy a local SIM card for domestic and international texts and calls when visiting New Zealand.

New Zealand draws in tourists at a rapid rate, more than 3 million per year. Because of this huge influx of people, competition among SIM card providers is fierce. This is good news if you are visiting New Zealand for pleasure or business, as you will be able to choose from many options. A prepaid SIM card can cut down on expenses instead of incurring charges from your home network.

Details Features
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
Flexiroam X International SIM Card
If you're planning a trip that includes multiple countries, attaching flexiroam X can be much cheaper than roaming with your existing mobile number or buying a new SIM in each location.
  • Over 100 countries
  • Three different starter pack options
  • Data options from 1 to 5 GB
  • Shipment takes 3 to 5 days
  • Pay as you go plans
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Prices last updated 8 Sep 2017
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Cell phone carriers in New Zealand

There are three major cell phone networks in New Zealand:

  • Vodafone
  • Spark
  • 2degrees

Together, the trio covers 98% of the population with either 2G, 3G or 4G/LTE as of 2015. There are a few smaller services that resell the big three’s services in different packages. These include:

  • Skinny mobile
  • Skinny direct
  • Warehouse Mobile
  • Bluesky

An American tourist visiting New Zealand can get a 30-day prepaid SIM card with 200 minutes, 200 text messages and 1GB of data for NZD$29 (US$21.05).

Vodafone

As of 2015, Vodafone’s 4G market covered 84% of New Zealand’s population, with its 3G market covering 97.5% of the population. Vodafone has three packages available for prepaid SIM cards, which all last 28 days. They are:

My Flex Prepay: This plan allows you to combine any number of minutes, texts and data you want, starting with a minimum of 50 minutes, 50 texts and 100MB of data for NZD$11. During your stay in New Zealand, you can bump the data up as high as 3.5GB, the minutes to a maximum of 500 and the texts to an unlimited amount. At the high end, this package costs NZD$47.

A Kiwi Favorite: This plan gives you 750MB of data, 150 minutes to New Zealand and Australian numbers, and unlimited texts to those same two countries for NZD$19.

Big Data Bundle: If you’re ravenous when it comes to data, you can double it to 1.5GB per month along with 200 minutes and unlimited texts for NZD$28.

Additionally, Vodafone offers four 4G Prepay Data Plans and three Prepay Mobile Broadband Boosts to give you even more data.

The Broadband Boosts are for 30 days and cost as follows:

2GBNZD$45
5GBNZD$75
10GBNZD$140

The 4G Prepay Data Plans range in length from 30-180 days and in cost between NZD$20 and NZD$80. They include:

Plan nameExtra dataLengthCost
Data 20500MB30 daysNZD$20
Data 301GB30 daysNZD$30
Data 503GB90 daysNZD$50
Data 805GB180 daysNZD$80

NZ Travel SIM

Vodafone offers three SIM card packages aimed directly at tourists. They contain minutes and texts not only in New Zealand but also “back home” – a list of 19 countries including the US. A breakdown of the three plans follows:

MinutesTextsDataPrice
2002001GBNZD$29
2002003GBNZD$49
Unlimited (NZ)2008GBNZD$99

To activate your NZ Travel SIM card, call 777. Your services are good up to 30 days on the NZD$29 packages and up to 60 days on the NZD$49 and NZD$99 packages.

Three levels of data boosts are available.

2GBNZD$45
5GBNZD$75
10GBNZD$140

Additional information on Vodafone

If you’re 25 years old or younger, Vodafone offers a special data offer. By confirming your age via Facebook or by showing a photo ID at any Vodafone store, you get 500MB every time you spend at least NZD$20 on a top-up.

Vodafone’s APN: vodafone, and website: https://www.vodafone.co.nz/

Spark

Spark New Zealand has 97% coverage on 3G but does not have a 2G fallback. Spark has opened its 4G/LTE capability in many cities as well. Spark has three value pack offers on prepaid SIM cards for visitors and tourists. Two of them come with a free subscription to Spotify. Here’s a comparison:

Plan details19VP19MUSIC29VP
Data750MB750MB1.5GB
Talk150 minutes100 minutes200 minutes
TextUnlimited (NZ)Unlimited (NZ)Unlimited (NZ)
Activation codeBuy19VPBuy19MUSICBuy29VP
Bonus material1GB Wi-Fi/day1 month Spotify1 month Spotify

Spark also has two special offers if you need more data than minutes or texts during your stay in New Zealand.

Plan details20DATALOVER40DATALOVER
Data1.5GB +1GB Facebook, Twitter, Spotify4.5GB +1GB Facebook, Twitter, Spotify
TalkNZD$0.49/minuteNZD$0.49/minute
TextNZD$0.20/textNZD$0.20/text
Activation codeBUY 20DATALOVER to 258BUY 40DATALOVER to 258
Extras1GB Wi-Fi/day
1 month Spotify
1GB W-iFi/day
1 month Spotify

Like Vodafone, Spark has specific SIM card plans if you are likely to be making calls and texts both domestically and internationally. The list of countries includes: Australia, UK, US, India, China and more. Here’s a breakdown:

Plan detailsNZD$29 CardNZD$49 Card
Length of validity1 month2 months
Data volume1GB3GB
Domestic minutes200200
International minutes100200
Domestic texts200200
International texts50100

Spark also offers a number of straight data packages that are ideal for travelers who find their trip extended by a week, a month or more. Data add-ons for prepaid SIM cards are as follows:

VolumeValidityPriceActivation code
100MB7 daysNZD$3BUY DATA100
300MB7 daysNZD$10BUY DATA300
1GB30 daysNZD$20BUY DATA1GB
3GB30 daysNZD$50BUY DATA3GB
5GB90 daysNZD$90BUY DATA5GB

Any of these packages can be updated by texting the code to 258. To cancel them, replace “BUY” with “END” in each package code.

Spark also has a “social” package available in which you can get 1GB/month of data spread across Facebook, Twitter and Spotify for NZD$9/GB. Activate this package by texting “BUY 9SOCIAL” to 258. To check your credit balance, text “bal” to 333.

Spark’s APN: internet, and website: https://www.spark.co.nz/

2degrees (2°)

2° joined the market in 2009. 2° cards are most commonly found at grocery stores in major cities. The starter price is a flat NZD$5 and is known as the Prepay Plus. It can be topped up with vouchers sold in stores or online with a credit card. The default rate on data is NZD$0.05/MB, but there are better deals to be had with the following data packages:

Data volumeValidityPriceActivation code
100MB1 monthNZD$6BUY 100MB
300MB1 monthNZD$10BUY 300MB
1GB1 monthNZD$20BUY 1GB
3GB1 monthNZD$50BUY 3GB

Text the activation codes to 233. To end a data plan, replaced “BUY” with “STOP” in the code.

2 degrees also has an offer for which you can consume as much data as you wish inside of a timed limit. These plans are as short as 5 minutes for NZD$0.50 and as long as 24 hours for NZD$6.

2° APN: internet, and website: http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/

MVNOs in New Zealand

There are four mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) doing business in New Zealand. All four provide low-cost SIM cards that can be used for a few days. They are:

Skinny Mobile

Skinny Mobile is owned by Spark, and your device must be capable of 3G 850 MHz to be effective. You can purchase a card online or at one of several stores affiliated with Spark, including:

  • The Warehouse
  • Harvey Norman
  • Paper Plus
  • Countdown
  • Pack

You can top up at more than 6,000 retail locations or by using a pre-registered debit or credit card online. Purchasing data plans can be a bit of a head scratcher. You must start by buying either a weekly or monthly combo before you can purchase add-ons. The weekly and monthly combos are as follows.

Weekly combos

Plan nameCostDataMinutes (NZ)Texts (NZ)
StandardNZD$5100MB60750
Busy FingersNZD$460MB15750
Loose LipsNZD$460MB60100
Data onlyNZD$5250MBn/an/a

Monthly combos

Plan nameCostDataMinutes (NZ)Texts (NZ)
Text UnlimitedNZD$8n/an/aUnlimited
StarterNZD$9100MB30Unlimited
Big ValueNZD$16500MBUnlimitedUnlimited
Big DataNZD$261GBUnlimitedUnlimited
UltimateNZD$462.5GBUnlimitedUnlimited

Once you’ve acquired a weekly or monthly combo, you can choose the following add-ons.

7-day add ons

80MBNZD$2
200MBNZD$4
600MBNZD$8

30-day add-ons (not available for weekly combos)

500MBNZD$10
1GBNZD$20
2GBNZD$25

Skinny Direct

Skinny Direct is a second brand of Spark, but it’s only available online and your SIM card gets linked to your credit card. You must remember to cancel online when you want the contract to end; otherwise the plan will keep renewing.

Skinny Direct is generally only for use by New Zealanders, and they must include a mailing address to acquire a card. However, there’s an easy hack to get around it.

  1. Buy a Skinny Mobile SIM card without any credit on it.
  2. Register the Skinny Mobile SIM card.
  3. Sign up on Skinny Direct and click the option to “keep my current number”.
  4. That will put Skinny Direct onto the card you bought for Skinny Mobile.

There are two data rates for Skinny Direct:

  • NZD$30/month: 3GB data, unlimited domestic minutes and texts.
  • NZD$50/month: 6GB data, unlimited domestic minutes and texts.

Additional data can be added at the rate of 1GB for NZD$10 per 30 days.

Bluesky

You can purchase cards online or at some convenience stores. There are two cards available:

  • Starter pack, which costs NZD$5 but does not have any credit.
  • SuperSIM pack, which costs NZD$16 and has a pre-loaded NZD$16 plan with it.

From there, you can purchase one of several data plans.

PlanLengthPriceData
Weekly 77 daysNZD$7None
Data 1030 daysNZD$10750MB
Data 1630 daysNZD$16500MB
Data 1930 daysNZD$191GB
Data 3030 daysNZD$301.5GB
Data 4830 daysNZD$482.5GB

Beyond the original plans, you can add on 500MB for NZD$10 or 150MB for NZD$3.

Warehouse Mobile

Warehouse Mobile starts at NZD$4 and can be bought online or at 90+ retail outlets. Data costs NZD$0.06/MB and top-ups cost a minimum of NZD$10. Therefore a NZD$20 top-up would get you an additional 333MB of use.

Additional information from TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has a community bulletin board that specializes in New Zealand travel. Here are a few tips on New Zealand SIM cards from visitors to the country.

“2 Degrees is probably your best bet and they do special packages with data. Go to the second one in that link. Buy from most convenience stores of from The Warehouse (a large dept store – there is one in the CBD or Newmarket).”

“I have used both 2 degrees and Vodafone prepay. 2 degrees always seems to be the better deal with lost-cost voice, free texts and a very reasonable data plan. Your handset must be “carrier” unlocked to use 2 degrees.”

“I decided on Telecom, as they do have better coverage. Telecom appear to have lifted their game to match 2 degrees in terms of value bundles, with the added bonus of better coverage outside metro areas.”

Call into a Telecom NZ shop when you get there, pay $5 for a local SIM & phone number and then $19 value bundle will get 100 mins talk, unlimited txt & 500mb of data – should be plenty for 2 weeks browsing interweb”

Pros and cons of New Zealand’s top telco providers

There are multiple options for cell phone networks and MNVOs in New Zealand. Gathering information is the best way to parse through all the different offers to figure out which suits your needs best.

Pros:

  • All three major providers offer 4G/LTE coverage.
  • You don’t have to register for a SIM card to purchase it.

Cons:

  • Some good deals are designed just for residents of New Zealand, meaning you have to work around the rules to get a card.
  • Skinny Mobile is tied directly to your credit card, meaning if you don’t cancel it, it will keep charging automatic top-ups each month.

Additional question about SIM cards in New Zealand

Q: What is the difference between a SIM card and an MNVO?

A: MNVOs utilize pre-existing wireless networks to offer lower prices on data-only plans. SIM cards generally offer a combination of texts, calls and data.

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