Mobile Internet in New Zealand for Travelers: 5 Ways to Get Data & Cost

Wondering if you could get mobile internet in New Zealand as a tourist? There are multiple options to stay online in New Zealand, but knowing which one to choose to enjoy your trip to the fullest requires tests. This article will do it for you and reveal the finest ways to access the mobile internet while traveling in New Zealand. Let’s dig into!

I. Mobile Internet in New Zealand – Coverage and Speed

The three main major network operators in New Zealand are Spark, 2degrees, and One (former Vodafone). Below is an overview about coverage and speed of mobile internet carriers in New Zealand.

1. New Zealand Mobile Internet Coverage

Coverage maps of main mobile network carriers in New Zealand
Coverage maps of major carriers in New Zealand

From the coverage maps of main operators in New Zealand, we can see that:

  • Spark has the most extensive coverage nationwide. Their network covers major cities and towns very well. In rural and remote areas, Spark’s coverage is still quite comprehensive compared to the other two providers. 5G is accessible in many locations.
  • 2degrees’s coverage map is robust in main urban centers like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch and also extends to many provincial towns.
  • One, formerly known as Vodafone, has a coverage footprint similar to 2degrees. Their network is not as readily available as Spark’s when you head deeper into the countryside. 5G is accessible in several places.

▶ Our recommendation: Choose Spark because of its strong coverage across most cities and towns in New Zealand.

2. New Zealand Mobile Internet Speed

Mobile internet speeds in New Zealand
Mobile internet speeds in New Zealand

Overall, New Zealand ranks the 43th in the world for cellular internet speeds according to the Speedtest Global Index data.

  • Average download speed is 61.57Mbps, average upload speed is 9.97Mbps, and latency is 32ms.
  • In terms of median download speed in Q4 2023, One NZ delivered the fastest speed at 73.52Mbps, Spark at 70.23Mbps, and 2degrees at 64.86Mbps.
  • In terms of consistency, 2degrees had the highest consistency (91%), followed by One NZ (84.5%), and Spark (83.4%)

▶ Our recommendation:

For the fastest speeds and reliable coverage, you may choose to use the networks of Spark or One NZ. For the most consistent performance, you may use 2degrees networks.

II. What are the Connectivity Options for Travelers to New Zealand?

There are 05 major connectivity options that tourists can choose to stay connected while traveling in New Zealand: prepaid SIM cards, eSIMs, Pocket Wifi, roaming, and Wifi.

Here is a comparison table of these options:

OptionHow it worksPriceWhere to buyProsCons
SIM cardInsert SM card into phone to get cellular data and callsVaries, depending on the carrier, data packageKiosks at major airports, telecom storesFlexible usage, can be used as a hotspotCompatible phone needed
New Zealand eSIMActivate digital eSIM profile on compatible phonesSlightly cheaper than SIM cardsOnline from New Zealand telcos or from eSIM providersFast activation, no physical SIMLimited phone compatibility
Roaming with home providerUse existing home cellular plan internationallyVery high roaming rates, check plan carefullyVia home carrierSame number works, no need separate planExpensive roaming fees
Pocket WifiRent Wifi hotspot deviceRather expensiveRental shopsPortable Wifi anywhere, can be shared, no per GB chargesRental cost, limited data in some plans
Public WifiFree Wifi at places (cafes, stations, malls,…)FreeAvailable in main cities, townsNo cost, easy access, no extra purchase or rental neededLimited availability, security issues

▶ Our recommendation:

  • Choose to buy a SIM card for New Zealand if you prioritize convenience and reasonable rates.
  • Choose eSIM if you have a SIM-compatible device.

Pro Tip:

III. Mobile Internet Rates in New Zealand – Is It Expensive?

The table below displays the internet fees of the five options for mobile internet in New Zealand.

OptionRate (USD)
New Zealand SIM card1.5GB data & 200 minutes: NZD $19 – USD $11.7
New Zealand eSIM3-20GB, valid for 5-30 days, prices from $10.50 – $141.50
Roaming with the New Zealand operatorsDepending on your home plan, carrier, and country
Public WifiFree
Pocket WifiExpect to pay $10-$15 per day

Note: The details in table above is for indicative purposes only. Confirm with your carrier for the most up-to-date information.

▶ Our recommendation:

A prepaid physical SIM card from the main carriers in New Zealand or a prepaid eSIM may be a great choice for tourists who want an instant Internet connection upon arrival at budget-friendly fees. 

  1. Good to know:  NZD 1 = USD 0.62; USD 1 = NZD 1.62 (as of February 2024)

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in New Zealand

A data SIM card for New Zealand offers great data packages at affordable rates to tourists. Follow the table below for several SIM card plans from major carriers in New Zealand.

Spark, 2degrees, and One are the three major network carriers in New Zealand

SparkUSD $132GB data + 300 minutes28 days
SparkUSD $194GB data + 500 minutes28 days
SparkUSD $5140GB data + unlimited minutes28 days
One (former Vodafone)USD $91GB data + 100 minutes28 days
One (former Vodafone)USD $238GB data + 100 minutes + 100 sms28 days
2degreesUSD $111.5GB data + 200 minutes30 days
2degreesUSD $183GB data + 300 minutes30 days

Note: The SIM packages above are just several of the SIM card options available for visitors to New Zealand and may change over time. It is best to contact the carrier for the most accurate details.

V. Data eSIM for New Zealand – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet in New Zealand for Tourists

Once your phone supports eSIM, purchasing an eSIM is the best way to connect to the mobile internet in New Zealand. This solution has various outstanding perks compared to a physical SIM card:

  • Online download and activation process
  • No store visit, no SIM slot needed, no risk of physical damage or loss
  • Immediate Internet access when you reach New Zealand
  • Multiple eSIM profiles on a single phone

Visitors to New Zealand can decide to buy eSIMs from major New Zealand network carriers or get them from prestigious eSIM suppliers like GIGAGO.

Gigago provides tourists with various affordable eSIM packages for New Zealand
Gigago eSIM packages for New Zealand

Why select Gigago?

Gigago is a trusted eSIM provider that offers quality eSIM services to more than 200 countries and territories around the world. The eSIM service for New Zealand from Gigago is a popular choice among tourists traveling to this country for many reasons:

  • Online eSIM profile download and activation
  • Easy setup within just several minutes
  • No identity check required
  • Multilingual customer support, available 24/7
  • Multiple plans to choose: Gigago eSIM plans for New Zealand start at 1GB of data per day for 5 days at just $10.50 , much affordable than roaming services. What is incredible about Gigago eSIM is that the rates of packages range from $10.50$141.50 . Thus, regardless of how long your trip in New Zealand is and how much data you consume, Gigago always has the best solution for you.

How to purchase New Zealand eSIM package with Gigago?

Just take the following steps to get an eSIM plan for New Zealand with Gigago:

  • Choose the eSIM package (data, validity) that suits your prioritizes, trip duration, and budget;
  • Pay online using e-wallets or credit cards;
  • Check your email for a QR code or activation key to activate your eSIM
  • Toggle on the data roaming function in the settings menu of your phone and your eSIM is ready to use.

VI. FAQs about Mobile Internet in New Zealand

What are the major mobile internet providers in New Zealand?

The three major nationwide mobile providers are Spark, One (former Vodafone) and 2degrees.

How can I purchase a prepaid SIM card for data in New Zealand? 

Prepaid data SIMs can be purchased from the major providers’ stores, supermarkets and airports. Look for temporary visitor SIM cards.

Is 5G available in New Zealand yet?

5G is still being rolled out across New Zealand’s larger cities. Coverage remains limited for now compared to 4G networks nationwide. Spark has switched on 5G in over 60 locations.

VII. Conclusion

In conclusion, travelers have different options to get mobile internet in New Zealand. Purchasing a local SIM card or using an eSIM profile gives you the most convenient cost-effective Internet access. Remember to choose the option and data plan that best aligns with your needs and trip duration.