Which ISP should I sign up for?Edit

This depends if you're motivated by price, speed and/or customer service - experience shows that you can pick any two. With the exception of three I feel I should specifically mention, the ISP's are generally the same:

  • Orcon are probably the exception to the rule above, they have fantastic speed and service, and are pretty reasonable with price.
  • Slingshot have terrible service and speeds, but are arguably the cheapest provider around.
  • Xnet are decently priced and their customer service is good, too BUT they're the only known ISP in NZ to pass along DMCA notices from the RIAA etc. (who have no jurisdiction in NZ) to their customers.

All providers offer DSL, the speed of which varies depending on your location from the exchange. There are no speed-limited DSL plans.

If you're lucky enough to live in Wellington or Christchurch, try and live in an area that is serviced by TelstraClear's cable network - the high speeds and low latency are incredible; unfortunately, they charge the earth.

There have been various attempts at 'unlimited' plans within the NZ market, but these haven't been very successful. This comes down to both poor planning on behalf of the ISP, and people exploiting the service.

While it's possible to get high-traffic plans, they do cost money. This is (in part) because NZ has a low population density, and the fact that one fibre-optic cable connects NZ with the rest of the world. The Central Government is in the process of consulting with companies to build a national fibre network.


Who is the best mobile phone provider and why?Edit

Out of 'the big 3' mobile providers, it depends where you live (metro/rural areas) and what you want from a provider.

In general, Telecom and Skinny have the best overall coverage; Vodafone and 2degrees focus more on the main centres. In remote areas (such as on the way to Queenstown) you'll likely lose coverage.

It's worth noting that:

  • Dropped calls are a rarity in NZ, although they can happen.
  • TXTing (SMS) is very common in NZ
  • Compared to other parts of the world, voice calling is quite expensive.
  • Data is similarly priced to Australia, the US and Canada.
  • For those North American Redditors, incoming calls on mobiles are free and don't count towards your minutes; the person making the call pays.

Do I need to provide proof of identity?Edit

No. You can purchase SIM cards for all providers over the counter. There's no legal requirement to show a passport or anything like that.

Will my iPhone/iPad work?Edit

Yes - all the carriers support iPhone/iPads and sell micro sims.


If you're motivated by price. They're by far the cheapest for voice calls, and their data plans are pretty good when you're inside their 3G broadband zone (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown). If you're outside of these areas, you roam on Vodafone's network, which means 2G/GSM coverage everywhere else. If you're in a 3G broadband zone, the speeds are decent, but nothing fantastic.

Getting StartedEdit

You can pickup 2degrees SIM cards from about everywhere : supermarkets, fuel-stations, corner dairys, 2degrees shops etc.

Prepaid OptionsEdit

Casual 'pay as you go'
TXT (SMS) 9c
Calls (per minute)* 44c
Data (per MB) 50c

Combo PacksEdit

Combo packs are a monthly one-off, prepaid purchase which buys you a bundle of minutes, txt (sms) and data. Generally they're far better value than 'pay as you go':Edit
Pack Price Call Minutes* Texts (SMS)* 3G Data
Text Combo $19 50 5000 500 MB
Chat Combo $19 100 300 50 MB
Data Combo $19 30 300 600 MB
Text Pack $10 - 5000 -

*to any network in NZ

Vodafone Edit

Have slightly cheaper calling rates than Telecom (on plans, anyway - prepaid costs the same amount on each). Despite running 2 networks (dual-band GSM and dual-band 3G), there is no EDGE and their HSxPA speeds are abysmal (think dialup). There have been recent issues with Vodafone's data network, too, which have resulted in people having to restart their handsets to be able to surf the web again. Congestion is also becoming a problem.

Getting startedEdit

Purchase a SIM/Micro/nano SIM from a Vodafone storeor online .

Prepaid OptionsEdit

Casual 'pay as you go' rates
Text (SMS) 20c per 160 character txt
Call (per minute) 49c

50c per MB

Packages (monthly)
Package Price Call minutes Texts (SMS) Data (MB)
Prepay 19 $19 100 Unlimited to NZ and Aus 500
Prepay 29 $29 200 Unlimited to NZ and Aus 500
Freebee Talk $20+ 30 ($20 top up)

60 ($30 top up)

120 ($40 top up)

Unlimited to NZ 50c per mb
Freebee Data $20+ 49c per minute Unlimited to NZ and Aus 250mb ($20 top up)

500mb ($30 top up)

1GB ($40 top up)

Note: with Freebees you also get to keep the top up dollar value and receive the freebee entitlements


GSM900 nationwide, UMTS2100 in metro areas. DC-HSPA being trialed in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and other areas. They also have a non-metro UMTS900 network.

Telecom XTEdit

Have the best coverage, and because their network is purely 3G, the best speeds, too. Unfortunately, they charge a premium for this, but it's only a couple of dollars extra. Their plans are reasonably simple to understand, too. Telecom is the network for people who TXT (SMS).

Getting StartedEdit

You can buy Telecom XT SIM/Micro SIM cards from Telecom shops , they're common enough.

Prepaid OptionsEdit

Standard 'pay as you go'Edit
TXT (SMS) 20c
Calls (per minute) 69c
Data $1 for 10MB per day, $1 MB thereafter
International TXT (SMS) 30c
Combo pack:Edit
Pack Price Call Minutes Text (SMS) Data
Value Pack $19 60 5000 500 MB



Skinny Edit

A new budget operator predominantly focused on the budget conscious / student consumer. Their prepaid packages are priced weekly.

Getting startedEdit

Phones purchased from Skinny are SIM locked to the network for the first 9 months, but can be broken for a one-off $30 fee.

SIM/Micro SIM cards cost $10, and include a $4 Loose Lips combo.

Prepaid OptionsEdit

Standard 'pay as you go' rates
Text (SMS) 9c
Call (per minute) 39c
Data (per MB) 39c
Combo Packs (weekly)
Pack Price Call minutes Texts (SMS) Data (MB)
Busy Fingers $4 15 750 60
Loose Lips $4 60 100 100
Love Bytes $4 - - 200
TXT Bomb $4 - 5001 -
Combo Packs (monthly equivalent)
Pack Price Call minutes Texts (SMS) Data (MB)
Busy Fingers $16 60 3000 240
Loose Lips $16 240 400 400
Love Bytes $16 - - 800
TXT Bomb $16 - 20004 -


WCDMA/UMTS, 850Mhz (same as Telecom)

Will my phone work?Edit

If you're thinking of bringing your own phone in NZ, it will need to support the right frequencies:

  • 2degrees use GSM900 and UMTS2100 in their own coverage zones.
  • Vodafone use GSM900 nationwide, and UMTS2100 in metro areas. They also have a non-metro UMTS900 network.
  • Telecom have a nationwide UMTS850 network.

If you have a quad-band GSM handset, it will work on Vodafone or 2degrees' 2G networks without issue. Most 3G European handsets will work on either of these networks. A NextG handset from Telstra in Australia, or a 3G handset from AT&T, Rogers, Bell, Telus or Claro in the Americas will work with Telecom's network.

CDMA handsets (such as those provided by Sprint, Verizon, Bell, Telus et al) will not be connected by a local phone company.

Just so you know:

  • UMTS = 3G
  • GSM = 2G