New Zealand's mobile networks are primarily based on GSM. There is one provider which has both GSM and CDMA networks. Check with your current provider to see if roaming to New Zealand is supported.
Roaming from your home country often costs a significant amount of money, and "prepay" mobile accounts in your host country are often a good idea to allow cheap calling to local places and people (and sometimes cheaper calling to back home too).
All three mobile network providers offer prepay, so the choice is yours. None of the providers require photo ID or credit card to purchase a prepay account.
Prepay mobile data is relatively expensive, with the largest offer costing $30 for 512MB of data. Wireless (802.11) is around in Wellington, and every hotel should offer it, although possibly at extra cost.
Where to buy
There are a number of outlets around, including at the airport, that will sell SIM cards for all three networks. A local "tech store" is Dick Smith Electronics, who will sell all three networks, and compatible mobile phones.
Top up cards for prepay are available from almost everywhere including Petrol (Gas) stations, Dairies (Convenience Stores), Supermarkets, etc.
|Coverage||Nationwide (roaming via Vodafone at no additional cost).|
|SIM cost||$2.00 (gives $2.00 credit)|
|Calling rate (National)||$0.44 / minute|
|Calling rate (International)||$0.44 / minute for 21 countries, $1.44 for the rest of the world. |
|Text (SMS)||$0.09 per sms (plus various rewards for topping up > $20)|
|Data||$0.50 per megabyte.|
|Networks||GSM 850; UMTS 850/2100 (2100 in urban only)|
|SIM cost||$29.95 (no credit included)|
|Calling rate (National)||$0.89 / minute|
|Calling rate (International)||Calls to Australia, UK, US, Canada, Ireland from within New Zealand - $0.89 per minute. Calls to the rest of the world from within New Zealand - $1.39 per minute.|
|Text (SMS)||$0.20 per sms.|
|Data||Casual: $1 per day for up to 10MB. Bundles: 20MB for $6 per month, 120MB for $12 per month, 240MB for $18 per month.|
|Networks||GSM 900; UMTS 2100|
|SIM cost||$30.00. No credit is included out of the box. However, log in to My Vodafone at https://www.vodafone.co.nz/myvodafone/prepay , complete the survey and get $10 free credit (note that it doesn't credit immediately).|
|Calling rate (NZ)||$0.89 / minute|
|Calling rate (International)||International calls to our top 15 countries are charged at $0.89c per minute, all other countries are charged at $1.39 per minute|
|Text (SMS)||$0.20 per sms.|
|Data||Currently there is a special on that offers 100MB per month for the first 3 months free. This offer expires 28th Feb. After that bundles are available at $10 for 100MB or $30 for 512MB. |
Cellphones and Driving
The NZ Government has passed legislation banning the use of handheld mobile phones while driving; this includes txting and calling while holding the phone, but not the use of installed carkits or Radio Telephones (RT's) for commercial purposes. The fine is NZD$80.00 and 20 demerit points are added to a drivers NZ license.