If you are reading this article you are probably planning a trip to New Zealand, how lucky are you!
New Zealand is a stunning country and it is worth seeing from head to toe, and you are going to want to stay connected throughout your journey, so what is your best option? That is what we are here to find out by looking at every prepaid sim card NZ has to offer.
We are going to take a look at all the top New Zealand sim cards for travelers, how much they cost, where to buy them, how to activate them, and more. By the end, you will know which one of these New Zealand sim cards is the best prepaid sim card in New Zealand for you.
Spark is one of the largest local mobile phone providers in New Zealand and therefore, with a Spark NZ sim card, you will have reliable coverage and fast data speeds all around New Zealand.
Spark has four New Zealand travel sim cards for you to choose from and they are quite affordable. Each of their plans also lasts for 3 months so you can slowly burn through the data, calls, and mins at your own pace while traveling around.
Spark’s most affordable local sim costs $29 NZ and it comes with 2 GB, 200 NZ call mins and texts, plus 100 international call mins and texts.
This is not that much data for three months but it is nice that you get some free NZ calls/texts, plus some free calls/texts to home which include the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and lots more.
Sparks other prepaid NZ sim card options include:
As you can see, you can pretty much find a Spark NZ sim card to match your data needs for up to 3 months of traveling around New Zealand.
Vodafone New Zealand is another of the most reliable mobile network providers in New Zealand. With Vodafone sim cards, you will have great coverage and fast connection speeds everywhere you travel in this stunning country.
Like Spark, Vodafone New Zealand also has four New Zealand prepaid sim cards for you to choose from when traveling around New Zealand.
They are more affordable than spark but expire in 30 or 60 days instead of 90 days, so bear in mind you might have to top up for your last 30 days if you are staying for 3 months.
Vodafone’s most affordable sim cards for New Zealand give you the following:
2 GB of data, 200 mins/texts for NZ & international countries – $29 NZ for 30 days
This is actually a worse deal than Spark as it lasts for 60 days less and you do not get NZ calls/texts plus international calls, they are all clumped together.
Vodafone’s other prepaid New Zealand sim cards are:
Vodafone and Spark have very similar offerings, Sparks last longer and are better if you are in New Zealand for 90 days. Vodafone’s nz sim cards are more affordable and offer the same data usage, so are the most cost effective if you are only in NZ for 60 days or less.
2degrees is another excellent local network provider to buy a local sim from. Their New Zealand prepaid sim card options are extensive and come with both great coverage and excellent connection speeds.
2degrees has 9 different prepaid NZ travel sim options to choose from, a lot more than both Vodafone and Spark. They offer 3 x 14-day options and 6 monthly options. I will focus on the monthly options as not many people fly all the way to New Zealand for just 2 weeks.
Before we get into the details of each of these packages, there are some extras that come with a 2-degree sim card.
They provide a Free Data Hour every day where you can use unlimited data for an hour each day, as well as Unlimited texts to NZ & Aussie, and Unlimited calls to 2degrees mobiles. These are pretty awesome benefits, here are the 2degrees monthly plans available:
As you can see, 2degrees sucks you in with their unlimited texts and calls as well as their free data hour, which is pretty cool. But, these make more sense for locals than people traveling.
Overall, their plans are more expensive than both Spark and Vodafone for traveling.
Your final choice of providers for your best NZ sim card is the travel sim from Skinny. Skinny is another reliable provider with good coverage and fast speeds to use for your travel sim while touring around New Zealand. They are a part of Sprint.
Skinny has 5 different packages to choose from all of which are monthly contracts that renew every 28 days, bear that in mind when doing your cost comparisons.
All of these come with unlimited texts to NZ & Aussie plus unlimited skinny to skinny calls.
Skinny has some great deals and are worth looking at if you are in New Zealand for a month but their deals are not as affordable as Sprint or Vodafone.
A sim card is pretty essential when traveling to New Zealand in my eyes. The beauty of New Zealand is getting off the beaten track and into the wilderness, and when you do this you are not going to find any free WiFi to latch onto.
There is free WiFi available in large city centers such as Wellington and Auckland and you can also jump on free WiFi networks at museums, libraries, and train stations too. But, once you get out of town, you will need a hotel, cafe, and restaurant to find some free WiFi.
Without a sim for New Zealand, you won’t be able to navigate your way around on Google Maps, order taxis in the street, book tickets as you will, find places to eat as you wander or stay in constant comms with your loved ones at home.
Considering that it is not that expensive to get a sim for New Zealand, it is totally worth doing to stay connected while you travel and a lot more affordable than roaming fees from your home sim card.
For a NZ sim card to work in your phone, it has to be an unlocked phone. So, how do you know if you have an unlocked phone or not?
If you bought your phone outside of a contract with a provider then you will have bought it unlocked and it will work with a sim card in New Zealand.
But, if your phone came for free as a part of a contract with a provider, it might still be locked to that provider.
To unlock your phone, call your provider and ask them if your phone is locked, if it is, ask them to unlock it. It should only take about 5 minutes to get your phone unlocked.
Mobile phones come with GSM or CDMA technology that allows them to connect to the mobile network. GSM phones will not work on a CDMA network and vice versa, so your phone needs to match the network.
New Zealand uses a GSM phone network and chances are you have a GSM phone if you got your phone anywhere in the world except for North America.
Canada and the United States still use CDMA phones in some cases, especially with Sprint and Verizon providers. If you have a CDMA phone, you will need to buy a GSM phone to use a sim card in New Zealand.
It is a lot more convenient to have your sim card in your hands before you travel to New Zealand. When you land, all you need to do is to pop your NZ sim in your phone and you will be connected.
Buying a sim online from one of the local providers and having it delivered to your home is not so easy. If you are in the US you can buy an NZ Vodafone sim here, otherwise, you will have to choose from international sim cards on SimOptions.
Getting hold of a sim card in New Zealand can be easy or hard, depending on the provider.
You can get a Skinny Spark sim card at Christchurch international airport and Auckland international airports as well as at supermarkets, Spark stores, gas stations, and online
2degrees sim cards are available online, in 2degrees stores, supermarkets, and gas stations, as well as Warehouse Stationery, PB Tech, JB Hi-Fi, and Harvey Norman stores too.
Vodafone sim cards are a pain to get a hold of as you can only get them from a Vodafone store or online and at the Vodafone store the international airports.
You do have to buy the physical sim card in New Zealand in some cases and it usually costs about $1 NZ for a sim card, so it is very cheap. How much your sim card costs after that is up to the plan you choose and how much data you use.
Activating and topping up your NZ sim card is very easy. If you have bought a prepaid sim, you can just dial a number to activate it, with Vodafone the number 777.
Topping up is just as easy. You can buy a top-up scratch card, do it online, or call and pay with a card.
If you are on a serious travel budget and need to conserve your data in NZ as much as possible, there are some clever ways of doing so. Here are some tips:
Keep your phone in airplane mode when you are not using it
Download where you are traveling in Google Maps on WiFi for offline use
Only use apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix on WiFi
Get on free WiFi wherever you can
No, if you do not mind using expensive data roaming, you are welcome to use your home sim card in New Zealand.
If you do not want to pay for the expensive roaming fees, you will need to have a specific sim for New Zealand.
Yes, you can buy a sim card for New Zealand in the USA by going to this website. You can also buy an eSim for New Zealand and international travel if you want to.
Yes, you can buy a sim card for New Zealand in the UK right here.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!