Are you planning your trip to New Zealand and would like to stay connected with an e-sim card? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card when traveling to New Zealand including a comparison of the best New Zealand e-sim cards for 2024.

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for New Zealand on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per June 2024, including all specifications per tourist e-sim card.

This guide will show you where and when to order an e-sim card for New Zealand, answer all your FAQ’s about e-sim cards, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for New Zealand and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to New Zealand online.

Since 2012 I am already traveling the world full time and throughout the years I turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. That is why I constantly get to a different country and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card to stay connected.

In 2022 I visited 62 different countries and in 2023 I visited 34 countries so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used throughout the last two years. 

In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad. On my latest trips to New Zealand I tested the below recommended New Zealand e-sim cards for tourists.

Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.

Of course Traveltomtom also wrote a complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for New Zealand in 2024 as well as a guide for buying a tourist sim card at Auckland Airport

Traveltomtom also wrote specific and in-depth guides for buying e-sim cards in: Australia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Asia, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Europe, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, USA, Canada, international e-sim cards and many more.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. 

First I will do a New Zealand e-sim card comparison then I will explain how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G, data speed, some FAQ about e-sim cards, the difference between e-sim cards for tourists and local prepaid sim cards in New Zealand and everything else you need to know about using e-sim cards when traveling to New Zealand.

Let me start with giving you my e-sim card recommendation for New Zealand. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand in 2024.

Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for New Zealand are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand in 2024: 

1. Nomad e-sim card for $30 US

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in New Zealand only
  • Valid for 30 days
  • Operates on the Spark 4G/LTE network
  • Only $1.5 USD per Gigabyte

2. Three e-sim card from SimOptions for $34.90 USD

  • 20 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada and Hong Kong 
  • Valid for 30 days
  • 4G/LTE
  • $1.75 USD per Gigabyte

The best value tourist e-sim card for New Zealand is the Joytel e-sim cards from Nomad. Joytel operates on the mobile data network of Spark, the best 4G/5G data network in New Zealand. Nomad has more e-sim card offers for New Zealand, some good, some ok. But you can’t beat only $1.67 USD per Gigabyte.

A good second best is an e-sim card for New Zealand via Three Hong Kong. You can order this international e-sim card via SimOptions and it is valid in 6 countries. It is perfect if you combine your trip to New Zealand with visiting Australia as well.

Traveltomtom has always had very good experiences with e-sim cards from SimOptions. However, readers have reported that TikTok is blocked on this sim card as it is a Hong Kong based sim card and TikTok is blocked in Hong Kong.

Both e-sim cards are data-only e-sim cards and incoming and outgoing calls or sms are not supported. 

Is New Zealand one of your stops on a trip to the Pacific or around the world then you can also look into getting an e-sim card for world travelers. There are a bunch of e-sim cards that cover multiple countries. 

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand or in general before using an e-sim card.

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards for tourists only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country. 

In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked. 

If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone. 

E-sim compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly. 

If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to New Zealand.

However, you can still order a sim card for New Zealand on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for New Zealand in 2024 or find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024.

Comparison of the best e-sim cards for New Zealand

Buying an e-sim card on arrival in New Zealand is still not possible at the international airports, nor in stores around the country. As per June 2024 the mobile internet providers in New Zealand still do not provide e-sim cards for tourists. They only offer physical prepaid sim cards in stores as well as on international airports.

Luckily there are multiple e-sim providers on the internet that sell New Zealand e-sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in New Zealand from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators. 

These are the 3 big e-sim card providers and they sell great e-sim card plans for New Zealand. They are tested and reviewed multiple times by Traveltomtom:

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below. 

SimOptions is the only e-sim provider that also offers international prepaid sim cards for New Zealand. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards that will be delivered to your home address before your trip and it is plug and play when you arrive in the New Zealand.

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for New Zealand.

Airalo

Airalo is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using Airalo for ordering an e-sim card. 

Normally Airalo is always one of my top recommendations but the Airalo e-sim card plans for New Zealand are more expensive compared to SimOptions and Nomad.

airalo esim card plans for new zealand 2024

Here are the Airalo data-only e-sim card plans for New Zealand for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $44 USD 

Click here to order an e-sim card for New Zealand from Airalo.

The Airalo e-sim cards for New Zealand are from Nzcom and they operate on the 4G/LTE network of One. Unfortunately the Airalo Nzcom e-sim cards for New Zealand are not 5G ready. Side note, there isn’t much 5G yet in New Zealand as of 2024 apart from the big cities. 

In the most famous places to visit in New Zealand you will find a 4G/LTE signal and the data speed is reasonably good these days. 

New Zealand is not the most advanced country when it comes to the mobile data network. Facts.

For more info about the best 4G/5G network in New Zealand check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for tourists for New Zealand in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers.

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

SimOptions

SimOptions is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your tourist e-sim card for New Zealand through SimOptions is done fast and easy. Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.

Why using SimOptions? When it comes to New Zealand e-sim cards SimOptions has much better e-sim card plans than Airalo and is therefore also recommended as one of the best e-sim cards for New Zealand.

simoptions esim card plans for new zealand 2024

Here are the international e-sim card plans from SimOptions for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $9.9 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD 

Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for New Zealand.

The Three HK e-sim cards that you can order through SimOptions are international e-sim cards that are valid in: Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada and Hong Kong. Since it is a Hong Kong based e-sim card it has been reported that TikTok is blocked on this e-sim card. The advantage of these Three HK e-sim cards are that they come with a phone number that starts with +852. Incoming phone calls and sms are supported.

Unfortunately SimOptions doesn’t specify exactly which mobile network operator in New Zealand they use. These international e-sim cards are not 5G ready, so the max data speed on the e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.

The SimOptions e-sim cards for New Zealand do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in New Zealand. For more info check the SimOptions website.

Nomad

Last but not least there is Nomad and actually Nomad has some of the cheapest New Zealand e-sim card plans. The Nomad e-sim cards for New Zealand are from JoyTel and SingTel.

nomad esim card plans for new zealand 2024

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for New Zealand: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $30 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $60 USD
  • 40 GB data for 30 days = $75 USD
  • 50 GB data for 30 days = $90 USD 

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for New Zealand via Nomad.

The Nomad website is a bit messy for finding the best e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand and it is not as easy to spot the amazing e-sim card deals instantly.

Some of the Nomad e-sim cards are from Joytel and some are from SingTel. Both e-sim card operators use the Spark 4G/LTE network in New Zealand.

The Nomad e-sim cards are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported. They do not come with a phone number. Neither are these e-sim cards 5G ready, only 4G/LTE is supported.

But as I mentioned before these Nomad e-sim cards for New Zealand have exceptional good value and they go as low as $1.67 USD per Gigabyte.

The Nomad New Zealand e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in New Zealand. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.

What is the cheapest e-sim card for New Zealand?

cheapest esim card plan for new zealand 2024

The cheapest e-sim card for New Zealand is an e-sim card from Nomad for just $4 USD, it will give you 1 GB data for 7 days. Airalo offers the same e-sim card plan but charges $4.5 USD. These e-sims are only valid in New Zealand and do not support calling and texting.

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in New Zealand

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes.

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to New Zealand without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless.

One of the best things about arriving in New Zealand with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later. 

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to New Zealand so much more convenient and fun! 

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024. 

E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges! 

Overseas data roaming plans

So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed. Do you have the patience to handle 3G? It is frustrating when all around you in pretty  much every amazing tourist destinations in New Zealand there is 4G/LTE available. 

And price-wise it should be a no brainer since you have seen how affordable the e-sim cards for New Zealand are.

Uncountable times travel friends have asked me: “Tom, can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to New Zealand. Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends.

Where to buy an e-sim card for New Zealand?

Online

You can only buy an e-sim card for New Zealand on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for New Zealand. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are the best e-sim card providers in 2024.

When buying an e-sim card for New Zealand through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed. 

On arrival in New Zealand

There are 3 main mobile internet provider in New Zealand: One (former Vodafone), Spark and 2degrees. Unfortunately as per June 2024 none of these operators offer e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards.

For more info about buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in New Zealand in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in New Zealand, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network.

Flying into New Zealand and landing in Auckland then you can buy a tourist sim card for New Zealand on arrival at the airport. Although you will find sim card shops from Spark and One (former Vodafone) you can only buy a physical prepaid sim card, tourist e-sim cards are not available at Auckland Airport.

When to order/activate an e-sim card for New Zealand?

You can order an e-sim card for New Zealand pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.

More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.

Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to New Zealand or before. When in New Zealand you will need an internet connection to instal your e-sim card. Every international airport in New Zealand has free WiFi so you could use that to install your e-sim card. Just make sure it is a stable internet connection and therefore Traveltomtom advices you to install/activate your e-sim card in your home country.

My personal advice is to instal your tourist e-sim card for New Zealand before you get into the plane and as soon as the plane lands you will be connected without any problems.

How do I know all this? Traveltomtom has visited New Zealand twice and traveled around the North and South Island in a mobile home for 1 month.

I also wrote a blog about buying a sim card at Auckland Airport and there is also a vlog on my YouTube channel about my arrival at Auckland Airport and buying a prepaid sim card for traveling in New Zealand.

How to activate an e-sim card

Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email. But wait, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code.

When you order an e-sim card plan for New Zealand you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.

You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your New Zealand e-sim card.

But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your New Zealand e-sim card.

Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.

Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur.

Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.

Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand

Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for New Zealand e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.

If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to New Zealand. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone.

If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to New Zealand or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to New Zealand and use it as a portable WiFi device.

Which smartphones support e-sim cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards.

The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that! 

Can I trust these e-sim card providers?

All the e-sim card providers for New Zealand recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo and Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in New Zealand.

Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund. 

Traveltomtom does NOT sell New Zealand e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand. 

Can I keep my phone number from home with a New Zealand e-sim card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.

So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!

For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new New Zealand e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs. 

This is also the trick to keep receiving sms for example for OTP (one time password) sms to login to applications.

Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. Just always make sure your sim card from home is switched off for data roaming.

Can I make phone calls with a New Zealand e-sim card?

No, unfortunately all the tourist e-sim cards for New Zealand available on the internet do NOT include calling and texting. The e-sim cards from Nomad, Airalo and SimOptions are data-only e-sim cards and any incoming/outgoing calls/sms are not supported. 

If you buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival in New Zealand in a store or at the airport then you get calling and texting included.

Does a New Zealand e-sim card come with a phone number?

In general the e-sim cards for New Zealand that you buy on the internet do not come with a phone number, which also means you can not receive any phone calls or sms.

But there is one exception and that is the Three HK e-sim card that you can buy via SimOptions. This e-sim card comes with a phone number from Hong Kong that starts with +852 and it allows you to receive phone calls and sms.

In the above New Zealand e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.

Can I use 5G on a New Zealand e-sim card?

No, none of the New Zealand e-sim cards for tourists are 5G ready yet as of Janaury 2024. Which means the max data speed is 4G/LTE. That said, there is also still not much 5G available in New Zealand, although 4G/LTE is widespread in most tourist destinations in New Zealand.

Are there e-sim cards for New Zealand with unlimited data?

None of the by Traveltomtom recommended New Zealand e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.

Even if you would come across e-sim card providers that offer e-sim cards for New Zealand with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed. Mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes.

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP).

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend New Zealand e-sim cards with unlimited data plans. There are always restrictions. And on Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. After I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal.

Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media was not even loading!

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for New Zealand with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card.

The Nomad e-sim card for New Zealand for $30 USD gives you 20 GB data. There is no real need for an e-sim card with unlimited data unless you want to upload your whole camera roll to Google Drive or iCloud via 4G/LTE instead of WiFi.

There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand in 2024 before choosing your favorite. 

Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand?

E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to New Zealand, but what is the best way? 

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand:

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • E-sim cards 

Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected. 

Local prepaid sim cards

In general if you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards are a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. However, not in New Zealand.

The local prepaid sim cards for tourists you can buy in stores or at the airport on arrival in New Zealand are more expensive than prepaid and e-sim cards that you buy on the internet. 

The big difference is that a local New Zealand prepaid sim card can only be purchased on arrival in New Zealand in a phone store and NOT on the internet.

The advantage of local prepaid sim cards is that they come with calling minutes for New Zealand and Australia and unlimited texting to both countries.

More info about the best New Zealand sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a prepaid sim card for New Zealand in 2024

International prepaid sim cards

If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to New Zealand. Some of them are great for New Zealand as well as in all other countries in for example Europe, Americas and Asia and you can easily order them online. 

If after visiting New Zealand you are traveling onwards in Asia then check Traveltomtom’s list of the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2024.

international sim card plans for new zealand 2024

A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play! 

Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for New Zealand directly online.

E-sim cards

As explained throughout the article there are two different e-sim cards:

  • E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • E-sim cards that you buy in New Zealand in a mobile internet provider store 

However, as of June 2024 e-sim cards are still not available for prepaid tourist sim cards in New Zealand.

Traveltomtom personally shopped around in New Zealand to find out if e-sim cards were available for tourists and the answer is: NO!

On arrival at the international airports in New Zealand they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists and in every phone store of Spark, One and 2degrees they told me e-sim cards weere not available for tourists.

Read all about it in my detailed guide about buying a sim card at Auckland Airport

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim card on the internet is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to New Zealand. You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop on arrival in New Zealand.

As soon as the plane lands, you are online!

Price difference

But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists?

Surprisingly, e-sim cards are the best value sim cards for New Zealand. The e-sim cards that you order on the internet are cheaper than the local prepaid sim cards. 

Local prepaid sim cards charge around $4 to $6 USD per Gigabyte and on the internet some of the e-sim cards for New Zealand go down to only $1.67 USD per Gigabyte.

This definitely isn’t always the case, New Zealand is one of the few exceptions. But this makes it very easy for the conclusion: buy your sim card for staying connected when traveling to New Zealand on the internet!

Local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in New Zealand in a sim card shop and a tourist e-sim card can only be bought on the internet, it literally takes jest 2 minutes. 

The best New Zealand prepaid sim card plan for tourists gives you 8 GB data for $29 USD, but for just $25 USD you get an e-sim card with 15 GB data. 

For more info check out my article about the best prepaid sim cards for New Zealand in 2024

After a long flight you just want to go to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected. With e-sim cards you buy on the internet you are connected as soon as the plane lands. For this convenience Traveltomtom definitely recommends to order one of the listed best e-sim cards for New Zealand in the comparison above.

Many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for New Zealand. Faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper depending on how much data you need.

Data speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth. 

This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.

Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid New Zealand sim card.

I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to New Zealand were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card for New Zealand right away.

If you still have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out. 

Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of June 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to New Zealand!