Mobile internet in New Zealand has become an integral aspect of daily life, fostering connectivity and innovation across the nation’s diverse landscape. Let’s discover practical tips for maintaining connectivity on your devices while traveling without exceeding your budget.

The Mobile Internet in New Zealand

I. Mobile Internet coverage and speed in New Zealand

Navigating New Zealand’s digital landscape is made seamless with its widespread mobile internet coverage and impressive speed.

1. New Zealand Mobile Internet Coverage

New Zealand Mobile Operators Coverage
New Zealand Mobile Operators Coverage

Following the latest Opensignal report in October 2023, New Zealand Mobile Internet Coverage has expanded rapidly in recent years, thanks to significant investments from the major mobile network operators – Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees. 

  • Spark won the 4G Coverage Experience award outright, indicating that its users had the best 4G coverage experience across New Zealand.
  • One NZ (formerly Vodafone) and 2degrees are statistically tied for second place in 4G Coverage Experience.
  • For 5G Availability, which measures the proportion of locations where 5G users had an active 5G connection, the three operators are statistically tied.
  • In terms of 5G Reach (the proportion of locations where 5G is available from an operator), One NZ and Spark are joint winners, while 2degrees trails behind.

In conclusion, tourists visiting New Zealand can enjoy widespread 4G coverage, with OneNZ and Spark being prominent choices for their competitive network reach and reliability. While 5G coverage is comparable among major operators, OneNZ and Spark stand out, with 2degrees also providing reliable connectivity in popular destinations. 

2. New Zealand Mobile Internet Speed

When it comes to mobile internet speeds experienced by users across New Zealand, the Opensignal report reveals the following:

Mobile Internet Speed in New Zealand
Mobile Internet Speed in New Zealand
  • The mobile internet speeds in New Zealand are very good. As of February 2024, New Zealand ranks 22nd globally for median mobile download speeds at 166.66 Mbps. The mobile upload speeds are reasonable at 11.12 Mbps median, ranking 39th worldwide.
  • For mobile upload speeds, New Zealand ranks 39th globally with a median upload speed of 11.12 Mbps. The median mobile latency (lag) in New Zealand is 31ms.
  • One NZ did have a very high 84.5% consistency rating, meaning over 84% of results met minimum thresholds of 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds.
  • 2degrees edged out One NZ slightly on metrics like lowest latency and highest consistency rating. Unless you require the absolute fastest speeds possible, any of One NZ, Spark or 2degrees could likely provide a good overall mobile data experience based on this national-level data. 

In summary, New Zealand offers fast and reliable mobile internet connectivity across its major nationwide operators, providing speeds and performance that rank favorably among countries globally.

Note: Internet speeds are AVERAGE speeds. NOT the fastest internet speed available in New Zealand.

II. Mobile Internet in New Zealand: Connection options for tourists

Each mobile internet options in New Zealand have its advantages and limitations, so the choice depends on your specific needs and technical conditions when traveling. Below is a comparison table of these options:

Connectivity Option Pros Cons Price Range 
Free WiFi No additional cost. Available in many hotels, cafes, etc. Limited availability. Potentially slower speeds. Security concerns on public networks Free
Pocket WiFi Rental Dedicated WiFi hotspot. Connect multiple devices. Unlimited data Extra device to carry. Limited battery life. Rental cost $5 - $10 per day
eSIM Convenient activation. No physical SIM card needed. Use your existing phone number Not all phones are eSIM compatible. Requires an eSIM data plan purchase $10 - $50 for a package
Local SIM Card Affordable data packages. Works with all unlocked phones. Local phone number Need to purchase and install SIM. Different number than your regular mobile $10 - $30 for a prepaid SIM with data
Roaming with Home Carrier Use your regular phone number. Avoid dealing with local SIMs Expensive roaming fees. Slower speeds in some cases Varies by carrier, often $10+ per GB

For tourists traveling to New Zealand, purchasing an eSIM/SIM is generally the optimal choice for staying connected. These provide fast 4G/5G data speeds and nationwide coverage without expensive roaming fees from your home carrier.

For visitors to New Zealand, services like offer eSIM data plans that can be a smarter choice over traditional options like Wi-Fi, pocket Wi-Fi rentals, or roaming.

eSIM New Zealand offers instant delivery via email with a QR code for activation on compatible smartphones, eliminating physical SIM swapping. With affordable pricing starting at $6 for 3 days and fast 4G/LTE speeds nationwide, they help avoid expensive roaming fees.

Don't data diet, feast with!

III. Mobile internet rates in New Zealand

Mobile internet rates in New Zealand vary based on providers and plans. Below are some packages you can refer to:

  • Prepaid: Most providers offer prepaid data packs ranging from 1GB to 20GB+ with validity periods of 7-30 days.
  • Postpaid: Postpaid plans typically come with a monthly data allowance, ranging from 1GB to unlimited data.

It’s recommended to compare various mobile internet options in New Zealand from different providers to find the most suitable option for your usage needs and budget.

IV. Best mobile operators in New Zealand

Each operator has its strengths and caters to different customer preferences, so it’s essential to consider factors like coverage, pricing, and additional services when choosing a provider.

Mobile Operator Price Pros Cons Suitable for
Spark Competitive. Wide coverage. Reliable network. Some plans are pricier. Inconsistent customer service. Users valuing reliable coverage and willing to pay for extras.
One NZ (Vodafone Affordable. Urban coverage. Vodafone Passes for apps. International roaming. Limited rural coverage. Fewer perks. users seeking budget-friendly plans.
2degrees Competitive. Generous data. Good customer service. Flexible plans. Limited rural coverage. High international roaming rates. Budget-conscious users needing data flexibility.

For tourists traveling to New Zealand, One NZ/Spark offers high-speed 4G/5G connectivity across the country’s broad network coverage. Activate it easily on your compatible smartphone for smooth internet access, saving significantly compared to international roaming.

V. FAQs about Mobile Internet in New Zealand

What types of mobile internet plans are available?

Mobile internet plans in New Zealand typically include prepaid and postpaid options with varying data allowances, speeds, and additional features like international roaming and entertainment packages.

How is the mobile network coverage in New Zealand?

Overall, mobile network coverage in New Zealand is quite extensive, particularly in urban areas and popular tourist destinations. However, coverage may vary in remote or rural areas.

Are there any special considerations for tourists regarding mobile internet?

Tourists visiting New Zealand can benefit from purchasing local SIM cards or eSIMs for cost-effective mobile internet access, avoiding expensive roaming charges from their home carriers.

Can I use my mobile phone from another country in New Zealand?

Most unlocked GSM-compatible phones from other countries can be used in New Zealand by purchasing a local SIM card or activating an eSIM.

VI. Conclusions

New Zealand consists of 4 giants – Spark, Vodafone NZ, 2degrees, and Skinny – among which the most reliable and affordable mobile Internet access can be obtained. There are inexpensive options available, like local SIM cards and eSIMs, that provide continuous connectivity for tourists without going through global roaming charges.