Traveling around New Zealand and not able to get reliable internet access? A local SIM card is your solution! This guide will walk you through all you need to know about getting connected with a Spark SIM card or eSIM in New Zealand.


1. Quick facts about Spark

Here are some quick facts about Spark New Zealand:

  • Founded: April 1, 1987
  • Headquarters: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Products and services: Fixed-line telephone services, mobile phone services, broadband, and digital technology services including cloud, security, digital transformation and managed services
  • Market share: New Zealand’s largest telecommunications company with a market share of approximately 40%

Spark NZ is the largest telecoms provider in a country with many homes and offices that have embraced its products and services. First, the company has shown much interest in innovation and keeps on investing in modern technologies to enhance their goods and services.

Spark New Zealand, as well, is concerned about sustainability and several of its projects are aimed at minimizing their environmental footprint.

spark logo

2. New Zealand Spark Coverage and Speed

With one of the highest rates of smartphone and internet usage in the world, the coverage and speed of mobile networks in New Zealand is of great importance to both residents and visitors.

2.1. Spark coverage in New Zealand

New Zealand Mobile Operators Coverage
New Zealand Mobile Operators Coverage

Per Opensignal latest report, Spark delivers first place in New Zealand as far as the overall coverage is concerned.

  • It achieved 8.8 points (out of 10) on the coverage experience award and came one point ahead of two placed One NZ. Consequently, Spark users tend to get a better signal at many other locations than users of any other network.
  • Video experience with Spark is another thing, which makes it stand at the top. Spark subscribers streamed movies the fastest via phone, and were least at risk for freezing, delays and other issues.
  • Similarly, one score in the best category for game experience. Playing games on their phones was faster by a significant amount than for those of competitors, which minimized lag or other problems for a spark user.

In summary, Spark takes the lead as New Zealand’s best network for coverage, download speeds, watching videos, and playing games. Therefore, if you are seeking the best mobile network experience in New Zealand, then there is none like Spark.

2.2. Spark speed

New Zealand Mobile Operators Speed
New Zealand Mobile Operators Speed

In New Zealand, for total speed, spark was ranked as the first provider.

In terms of the fastest average overall download speed, Spark emerges the winner. It gave speeds at 44.9Mbps, which were 5.6 Mbps better than One NZ as well as 2degrees users.

Put simply, this implies that Spark users will be able to download their data and files much quicker than users of other networks.

3. Spark connectivity options for travelers to New Zealand

Spark NZ offers a variety of connectivity options for travelers to New Zealand.

Option Description
Spark Travel Packs Prepaid SIM cards with a New Zealand mobile number
Spark Prepaid SIM Prepaid SIM card that can be used to add data, talk, and text as needed
Spark eSIM Virtual SIM card that can be activated on your phone without the need for a physical SIM card
Spark Roaming Use your existing mobile phone plan while you are in New Zealand

Spark has a wide range of network coverage across New Zealand, including 4G coverage in most urban and rural areas. You can check Spark’s network coverage map to see if you will have coverage in the areas you plan to visit.

4. Best Spark SIM cards for tourists & cost

Spark offers NZ Travel Packs with SIM, with a Spark SIM card included, different plans and prices to suit different needs:

Spark Tourist SIM Price (USD) Data Local Calls Messages Validity Total Cost (USD)
Spark Travel Pack ~$17 2GB 200 NZ Only. 100 Int'l 200 NZ Only. 100 Int'l 3 months ~$17
~$29 10GB 200 NZ Only. 100 Int'l 200 NZ Only. 100 Int'l 3 months ~$29
~$46 50GB Unlimited NZ, 200 Int'l Unlimited NZ, 200 Int'l 3 months ~$46
~$76 Unlimited Unlimited NZ, 300 Int'l Unlimited NZ, 300 Int'l 3 months ~$76

This is a perfect alternative for tourists looking for an economical and convenient way to remain connected while visiting New Zealand.

In this regards, they have got data, international minutes, as well as unlimited New Zealand texts that enable one to call, send message or browse without caring about expiring credits.

5. Does Spark New Zealand support eSIM?

In 2018, Spark became the first mobile network operator in New Zealand to introduce eSIM capabilities.

Spark has no tourist-specific eSIM special plan. You can buy one of these prepaid plans and choose a free eSIM:

Spark Prepaid Plan Price (USD) Data Local Calls Messages Validity Total Cost (USD)
Prepaid Value Pack ~$11 1.25GB 200 mins Unlimited NZ 28 days ~$11
Prepaid Value Pack ~$17 2GB 300 mins Unlimited NZ 28 days ~$17
Prepaid Value Pack ~$29 4GB 500 mins Unlimited NZ 28 days ~$29
Prepaid Value Pack ~$47 40GB Unlimited Unlimited NZ 28 days ~$47
Data Lovers Pack ~$11 1.5GB 49c/min 20c/NZ SMS 28 days ~$11
Data Lovers Pack ~$23 4.5GB 49c/min 20c/NZ SMS 28 days ~$23

Spark eSIM works on iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and newer models. Many recent Android phones also support Spark eSIM.

6. Where can you buy a Spark SIM card and eSIM?

Ensuring connectivity when traveling is essential in our increasingly digital world. Those visiting New Zealand will want to understand their options for obtaining mobile service through one of the major carriers.

6.1. Where to buy Spark SIM for New Zealand

Spark SIM cards are available for purchase at various locations throughout New Zealand, including:

  • Spark stores – Widely available across New Zealand.
  • Airport – Spark stores at New Zealand airports and vending machines.
  • Retail stores – Warehouse Mobile, Noel Leeming, JB HiFi, post offices.
  • Online – Spark official website, other retailers.
Spark store in New Zealand
Spark store in New Zealand

6.2. Where to buy New Zealand Spark eSIM

A New Zealand Spark eSIM can be purchased in several different ways. Here are the options:

  • Online: One can purchase a Spark eSIM online via the Spark website or mobile app. For this, you need to sign up for a Spark account where you will be required to give personal information.
  • Spark Stores: Alternatively, you can buy a Spark eSIM in any of Spark stores. To succeed in this you will be required to have a valid form of identification and your spark account particulars.
  • Partner Retailers: Spark eSIMs can also be purchased from selected partner retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming, and The Warehouse. However, to buy an eSIM from a retail partner, you should show valid identity card and Spark information.

The most convenient buy is at the airport on arrival but at a higher price. It is advisable to order online in advance or to visit an available Spark store in the city as it saves you lots of money.

7. How to activate Spark New Zealand SIM/eSIM

Securing mobile connectivity during your travels is important, so it’s helpful to understand the process for activating a Spark SIM card from one of New Zealand’s major carriers, Spark.

7.1. How to use Spark New Zealand SIM card

  1. Purchase Spark Prepaid SIM card kit. Comes with SIM.
  2. Insert SIM into the phone. Call *333 to activate.
  3. Follow the activation instructions that came with SIM.
  4. Top-up account to add credit and data pack.
  5. Start using mobile internet, calls, and texts!

7.2. How to activate Spark New Zealand eSIM

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your iPhone. As part of the setup, you’ll see a notification ‘Spark NZ Cellular Plan Ready to be Installed’. 
  2. In the Settings app, tap Finish Setting Up Mobile Service. Follow the setup instructions on-screen to activate your eSIM.

Activating a Spark SIM card or eSIM is quick and easy. Ensure your phone is unlocked for the best compatibility.

8. New Zealand Spark Call & SMS rates

Services Rate (USD)
Casual call $0.34
Text message $0.13
International SMS to Australia $0.20

Calls and texts to standard NZ numbers are reasonably priced. Calling special numbers like toll-free, and premium rate numbers can be more expensive.

9. Useful USSD codes for Spark New Zealand SIM/eSIM

  • 100# – Check main balance
  • *333 – Activate SIM
  • Text BAL to 2424 – Check Balance

USSD codes let you easily check your Spark SIM card balances, purchase packs, and change settings directly from your phone keypad. No need to use the app.

10. How to top-up Spark New Zealand SIM/eSIM

You can add money and data packs to extend service on your Spark SIM card or eSIM using:

  • Spark app – Instant top-up by card or PayPal
  • Spark portal – Login to top-up
  • Vouchers – Buy from stores, enter code
  • Automatic top-up – Set low balance triggers

When you’re running low on credit or data, simply top-up again to continue service. Monitor your balances to avoid unexpected bills or overages.

11. Alternatives to New Zealand Spark

Other top cellular providers in New Zealand include:

  • Vodafone NZ – Second largest network. Competitive rates.
  • 2degrees – Challenger with value prepaid packs.
  • Skinny – Spark’s low-cost subsidiary brand.

For the best nationwide coverage, Spark and Vodafone are recommended. 2degrees has limited reach outside cities. Compare rates if you need lots of data.

Travel to New Zealand with an

Ditch physical SIMs and get 4G/LTE data for $10.50. Instant activation – your digital SIM arrives in minutes. Stay connected seamlessly while exploring NZ without roaming charges.

Buy an eSIM plan now and enjoy hassle-free connectivity during your trip.

12. FAQs about Spark in New Zealand

Does Spark use a GSM or CDMA network?

Spark uses a GSM network with 4G LTE service. Most unlocked phones are compatible.

Can I use a Spark SIM on multiple devices?

Yes, you can use one Spark SIM on multiple devices. Switch it between devices as needed.

Is there a Spark shop at Auckland Airport?

Yes, Spark has a store at the Auckland International Airport arrival area. Pick up a SIM on arrival.

Do I need to show ID to buy a Spark SIM?

No ID is required for prepaid SIM purchases as a tourist. Provide a passport when signing postpaid plan.

Can I roam with Spark New Zealand SIM overseas?

No, Spark does not currently offer roaming. The SIM will not work outside of NZ.

13. Final words

Getting connected on a Spark SIM card or eSIM is quick, easy and affordable in New Zealand. With comprehensive 4G and growing 5G coverage, Spark provides the connectivity you need across New Zealand. Pick up a prepaid Spark SIM card on arrival or order an eSIM before your trip for immediate access to fast mobile internet.