Calling, texting and surfing in New Zealand

There are three main telcos in New Zealand – 2degrees, Telecom NZ and Vodafone NZ. The locals do not really understand ‘telcos’ (they gave me a blank look), so use wireless carriers or mobile operators instead.

As we planned to have two Internet-enabled devices, we got a SIM from Vodafone NZ for our calling, texting and mobile data needs and another from Telecom NZ purely for mobile data. Here’s why.

When we landed at Christchurch Airport, it surprised us that only Vodafone NZ had a store there. Telecom NZ’s nearest retail store was about ten minutes away at Northlands Shopping Centre (55 Main North Road). We therefore decided to get one SIM card from Vodafone NZ first. Our second SIM from Telecom NZ came when we got to Queenstown.

Vodafone NZ

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | A pre-paid plan for visitors

Photo | BIG_MOUSE | A pre-paid plan for visitors

I was initially turned off by the $59 fee, but the SIM card (standard, micro or nano) is free and it was a blessing in disguise. This pre-paid plan allowed us to call to confirm accommodation, book activities and reserve seats at cafes and restaurants. A key benefit about this plan = you can call back or text to both NZ and Singapore numbers without incurring extra charges. In this pre-paid bundle, you get 120 minutes (billed per minute) and 200 SMSes. As for the $10 credit, it will be used when you exceed your calling, texting or data bundle.

While in Queenstown, we needed a microSIM card adapter. I walked into a Vodafone NZ retail outlet expecting to fork out good money for it. I was pleasantly surprised when the staff passed me the adapter for free with a smile. I was taken aback. Not too shabby service there.

Find a Vodafone NZ shop here.

Telecom NZ

As expected, the 2GB bundle wasn’t enough for us. We walked into a Telecom NZ shop in Queenstown and got ourselves a 3GB pre-paid data-only plan for $35 – $5 for the nano-SIM card + $29 (promo rate) for the 3G data bundle + $1 credit. The usual price would be $5 + $49 = $54

Find a Telecom NZ shop here.


Data speeds for both companies were alright. You can turn on Personal Hotspot to share your Internet connection with your other devices. No complaints, but note that there is no Telecom NZ mobile coverage in and around Punakaiki Resort along the West Coast.

Easter egg

Of course, there is a need to highlight StarHub’s data roaming services, if you so require. 🙂 If you are a StarHub Mobile subscriber and find buying a separate SIM card troublesome, you can surf while in NZ at $10 for every 50MB of data (while connected to any mobile operator) or $30 per day for unlimited data roaming (only when connected to Vodafone NZ). Find more details here, or you can comment below and I will be happy to help.


Click here to return to the main content page on my trip to New Zealand.


3 thoughts on “Calling, texting and surfing in New Zealand

  1. Pingback: Family trip to New Zealand – Brief Itinerary | big_mouse..confusingABCrandom123

  2. Haha. I love your obligatory product placement at the end. Anyway, “telcos” is a very Singaporean term, slang if you may, so they wouldn’t understand you.

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