Are you traveling to New Zealand and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Let this guide help you to pick the best sim card for your trip to New Zealand.

Find below a comparison of the New Zealand prepaid sim cards, up to date prices and info as per January 2024, the best 4G/5G network, my recommendation, info about e-sim cards for New Zealand, where to buy a prepaid sim card for New Zealand, international sim cards and everything else you need to know.

Getting connected is the first thing I do when traveling to a new country. In the past I always used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival, but more and more I use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad, simply because it is super convenient, easy and fast to get an e-sim.

Since Traveltomtom is already a full time nomad and travel blogger since 2012, buying prepaid sim cards and e-sim cards is part of my life, especially since Traveltomtom is also aiming to travel to every country in the world. In 2022 I visited more than 60 different countries and in 2023 I traveled to 34 countries so imagine how many prepaid and e-sim cards I have used in the last 2 years.

That is also why on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 prepaid and e-sim card guides from all over the world: Australia, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Fiji, Nadi, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Hong Kong, China, Shanghai, Thailand, Bangkok, Indonesia, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Turkey, Europe, London, USA and many more.

If you are flying into Auckland and you would like to buy a tourist sim card for traveling in New Zealand straight on arrival at Auckland International Airport then click on the link and check out my specific guide for Auckland Airport, including a vlog of what arriving looks like.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the most up to date and detailed advice about prepaid and e-sim cards for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me! 

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand to stay connected as it is significantly cheaper than a local prepaid sim card. You can already get an e-sim card for New Zealand with 15 GB data for $25 USD.

Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide with everything you need to know about e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand

Not every phone is e-sim compatible so for those it is also worth it looking into ordering an international prepaid sim card for New Zealand as they are also cheaper than local prepaid sim cards.

When buying a prepaid sim card in New Zealand Traveltomtom recommends a Spark sim card. Spark has the best 4G/5G network in New Zealand and it has a sim card deal for tourists with 4 GB data for $29 USD.

I told you tourist sim cards in New Zealand are more expensive than e-sims you can order on the internet.

The Spark prepaid data plans are slightly more expensive compared to 2degrees and One (former Vodafone), but losing signal as soon as you travel off the beaten path in New Zealand is also very inconvenient.

When traveling to New Zealand and visiting more countries on your trip around the world or in the Pacific then also check out my list of the best international prepaid and e-sim cards for traveling in 2024. Some of these international travel sim cards are valid in 141 countries.

Be aware that new sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If your phone is locked then you can’t use an e-sim card, an international prepaid sim card or a local prepaid sim card before unlocking your phone. If you are not sure about this then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country before traveling to New Zealand.

The best e-sim cards for New Zealand

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to New Zealand in 2024. But keep in mind they only work in e-sim compatible phones. 

If your phone is e-sim compatible then you simply order an e-sim card for New Zealand on the internet, process the payment, receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and you are connected in just a couple clicks. 

If this raises a lot of questions then check out my complete guide for buying an e-sim card for New Zealand in 2024, including a comparison of the best available tourist e-sim cards and an answer to the most common FAQ’s.

There are many e-sim providers on the internet, below you can find my recommendations. All providers are trusted, tested and reviewed by Traveltomtom personally. 

Airalo

Airalo is a trusted e-sim card provider and they have the following New Zealand e-sim card plans.

  • 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 a New Zealand e-sim card via Airalo.

The Airalo e-sim cards are from Nzcom and they operate on the 4G/LTE network of One NZ. These e-sim cards are data-only and only valid in New Zealand.

SimOptions

simoptions esim card plans for new zealand 2024

SimOptions is another trusted e-sim card provider. They sell international e-sim cards that are valid 6 countries around the world.

  • 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 an international e-sim card for New Zealand via SimOptions.

The SimOptions e-sim cards are also data-only and 5G is not supported, only 4G/LTE. 

Nomad

nomad esim card plans for new zealand 2024

A third trusted e-sim card provider is Nomad and they offer also 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 to order an e-sim card for New Zealand through Nomad.

The Nomad e-sim cards are from Joytel and they operate on the 4G/LTE network of Spark. The Nomad e-sim cards are also data-only.

Before ordering an e-sim card make sure your phone is unlocked and e-sim compatible otherwise an e-sim card won’t work on your phone. 

For a more detailed comparison of the best e-sim cards for New Zealand click on the link for my guide, including all FAQ’s about e-sim cards.

Why buying a sim card for New Zealand

No one wants to get stuck with slow overseas data roaming plans. These data plans from your mobile internet provider in your home country reduce the data speed and are much more expensive than e-sim cards or local prepaid sim cards. 

The last thing we want is to get stuck with high data roaming charges, which in 2024 are still ridiculous and providers often charge up to $3 USD per MB, which means opening the Instagram app can easily cost you $100 USD. Not kidding! Always make sure you switch off data roaming when traveling internationally.

Very important when traveling to New Zealand is to stay connected. Why? What about ordering a taxi through an app or getting directions from Google Maps. Ever thought about what to do in emergencies and not being able to use data on your phone? Or killing time on long train, bus or car rides, accessing your banking apps, etc. 

Don’t rely on WiFi, there is no guarantee your hotel has good and fast WiFi and another reminder that being connected to the internet through public WiFi is on an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.

Where to buy a sim card for New Zealand

International Airport on arrival

Buying a sim card on arrival at an international airport in New Zealand is easy. All the major international airports in New Zealand have sim card shops that sell sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom recorded a vlog what it is like arriving and buying a sim card at Auckland Airport

Here is a link to my detailed article about buying a sim card at Auckland Airport.

Phone store in city center

All around the big cities in New Zealand there are sim card stores from the main mobile internet providers. Traveltomtom recommends buying a sim card in an official retail store over a random phone shop. In an official retail store of the mobile internet providers you get the best service and discounted deals and before you walk out of the store, the staff will make sure your data connection is working properly.

If you buy a sim card at a gas station or convenience store you will have to activate and register the sim card yourself. At these kind of stores they also sell prepaid sim cards from MVNO’s: Warehouse Mobile, Kogan Mobile and a couple others.

Online

You can also buy a sim card for traveling in New Zealand on the internet and as mentioned before it is actually much cheaper than local prepaid sim cards. 

I already showed you everything about ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand, but you can also buy physical prepaid sim cards for traveling in New Zealand. These international sim cards will be delivered to your home address before traveling to New Zealand. On arrival it is plug and play! More about it later. 

Mobile internet providers in New Zealand

There are 3 main mobile internet providers in New Zealand: Spark, 2degrees and One. Some New Zealand prepaid sim card comparing websites are still talking about Vodafone New Zealand but since the beginning of 2023 Vodafone is taken over by One 

All mobile internet providers sell prepaid sim cards for tourists. Prices for prepaid sim cards for tourists are more or less the same, the big difference between the mobile internet operators is the mobile data network coverage. More about that later. 

Registration process

When buying a sim card in New Zealand in any sim card shop you will need to bring your passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the phone store and your new New Zealand sim card will be registered on your name and your passport number. You will receive a physical prepaid sim card (e-sim cards still not available for tourists) that comes with a New Zealand phone number that starts with +64.

Prices New Zealand prepaid sim cards

All prices and info below are updated in January 2024. Prices are in New Zealand Dollar and $1 USD = $0.63 NZD and $1 NZD = $1.58 USD.

As of January 2024 none of the mobile internet providers in New Zealand offer e-sim cards for tourists. That means when buying a local prepaid sim card you can only get a physical prepaid sim card.

Prepaid sim card plans in New Zealand come with an embarrassing low data volume! Another reason to simply order an e-sim card for traveling to New Zealand. 

2degrees

2degrees nz prepaid sim card plans

At 2degrees you are getting charged $5 NZD ($3 USD) extra for the registration of the sim card and you can choose from one of the following plans that are valid for 1 month and come with unlimited sms:

  • 250 MB data + 100 minutes = $10 NZD - $6 USD
  • 1.5 GB data + 200 minutes = $19 NZD - $11 USD
  • 3 GB data  + 300 minutes = $30 NZD - $18 USD

The calling and texting credit of the 2degrees prepaid sim card plans can also be used to call/text to Australia. The 2degrees sim cards are 5G ready. For more specifications see the picture above or check out the 2degrees website. 2degrees does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available.

One

one nz prepaid sim card plans

One offers the following prepaid combo plans that come with unlimited texting and are valid for 28 days: 

  • 1 GB data + 100 minutes = $15 NZD - $9 USD
  • 1.5 GB data + 200 minutes = $20 NZD - $12 USD
  • 3 GB data + 300 minutes = $30 NZD - $18 USD
  • 8 GB data + 100 minutes + 100 sms = $40 NZD - $23 USD

One also has a cool options that allows you to build your own prepaid sim card plan.

one nz prepaid sim card plans 1

The One sim cards plans also allow calling/texting to Australia at no extra cost. One does not specify if their prepaid plans are 5G ready. For more specifications see the picture above or check out the One NZ website. One does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available.

Spark

spark new zealand prepaid sim card plans

Spark has 3 prepaid sim card plans for tourists valid for 28 days: 

  • 2 GB data + 300 minutes = $20 NZD - $13 USD
  • 4 GB data + 500 minutes = $30 NZD - $19 USD
  • 40 GB data + unlimited calling minutes = $80 NZD - $51 USD

Spark does not specify if their prepaid plans are 5G ready. Also don’t pay too much attention to the free ‘socializer’ GB’s, that only is for Facebook and X (Twitter). 

For more specifications see the picture above or check out the Spark NZ website. Spark does not provide e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards are available.

Best 4G/5G data network in New Zealand in 2024

To determine the best prepaid sim card for traveling in New Zealand let's compare the mobile data network coverage of all the mobile internet providers. New Zealand is famous for being an off the beaten path country and traveling around New Zealand is all about getting disconnected, right?

Therefore don’t have high expectations when it comes to the mobile data network in New Zealand. There is definitely not a 4G/5G signal everywhere.

Is there 5G in New Zealand?

Yes, there is 5G in New Zealand, but especially when traveling off the beaten path, don’t expect to find 5G in New Zealand. The 5G network in New Zealand is still pretty limited. 

In fact, depending on which mobile internet operator you choose you might not even find a signal at all.

Let me show you why the network coverage is so important when choosing the best prepaid sim card for New Zealand in 2024. 

For a better overview of the network strength lets zoom in on the New Zealand network coverage maps of the North Island and the South Island separately. 

2degrees 4G/5G network coverage map North Island

2degrees 4g 5g network coverage north island new zealand 2024

One 4G/5G network coverage map North Island

one 4g 5g network coverage north island new zealand 2024

Spark 4G/5G network coverage map North Island

spark 4g 5g network coverage north island new zealand 2024

When we compare the North Island network coverage maps of the mobile internet providers in New Zealand we conclude that Spark has the most advanced 4G/5G network coverage.

2degrees 4G/5G network coverage map South Island

2degrees 4g 5g network coverage south island new zealand 2024

One 4G/5G network coverage map South Island

one 4g 5g network coverage south island new zealand 2024

Spark 4G/5G network coverage map South Island

spark 4g 5g network coverage south island new zealand 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are definitely not 100% accurate but it is a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in New Zealand.

From the above New Zealand 4G/5G coverage maps we can clearly see that 2degrees is the smallest mobile network operator in New Zealand.

The Spark and One (former Vodafone network do not differ so much and may be in the South Island One has an even slighter better network coverage, but it is hard to tell. Based on the available data Traveltomtom rates Spark as the best 4G/5G network in New Zealand in 2024.

Best sim card for New Zealand

Local prepaid sim cards in New Zealand are expensive for what you get. Prepaid sim card plans with data are very small, but not cheap. All mobile internet providers in New Zealand have a $30 NZD plan, which is $19 USD. One and 2degree give you 3 GB data and Spark gives you 4 GB data. That is $5 to $6 USD per Gigabyte.

Since Spark also has the best mobile data network coverage in New Zealand and the strongest 4G/5G signal around the country it is fairly easy to conclude Spark is the best sim card for New Zealand after comparing the mobile internet operators in New Zealand.

However, when we include e-sim cards and international prepaid sim cards in the comparison we clearly see that ordering a sim card for New Zealand on the internet is much cheaper.

Nomad offers e-sim cards for New Zealand with 15 GB data for just $25 USD, that is only $1.68 USD per Gigabyte. Which is of course much cheaper than buying local prepaid sim cards in New Zealand.

Therefore, if your phone is e-sim compatible go check out my complete guide including a detailed comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to New Zealand in 2024.

There are also e-sim cards for New Zealand with just 1 GB and they start already from $4 USD. Different travelers, different needs. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand via SimOptions, Airalo or Nomad.

I you are traveling off the beaten path or you simply don’t want to worry about having a strong phone signal then definitely go for a Spark sim card or an e-sim card that operates on the Spark network.

Spark also has the best prepaid sim card deal in New Zealand for those we use a lot of Gigabyte. For $80 NZD ($47 USD) you get 40 GB data. 

Order a prepaid sim card for New Zealand online

international sim card plans for new zealand 2024

If your phone is not e-sim compatible then you can still order an international prepaid sim card for traveling in New Zealand on the internet. These sim cards are valid in multiple countries around the world. After you ordered online, a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip to New Zealand.

On arrival it is plug and play.

SimOptions offers the following physical prepaid sim card for New Zealand:

1. Three Data Pack - $24.90 USD

  • 10 GB data-only
  • Valid 30 days
  • Valid in 56 countries
  • Incoming/outgoing calls not supported
  • 4G/LTE

2. Orange Holiday World - $49.90 USD

  • 10 GB data-only
  • Valid 14 days
  • Valid in 124 countries
  • Incoming/outgoing calls not supported
  • 4G/LTE

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

What you can see above is that the international prepaid sim card from Three gives you 10 GB data for $24.90, that is the cheaper than buying a local prepaid sim card New Zealand.

Last reminder that for those who have an e-sim compatible phone you can just order your e-sim card for traveling to New Zealand on the internet and you are all set within just a couple clicks. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for New Zealand via SimOptions, Airalo or Nomad.

My experience buying a sim card for New Zealand

Traveltomtom visited New Zealand two times over the last years. Last time very recently and that is how I found out that the local prepaid sim cards are much more expensive. On arrival at the airport in Auckland I was pretty surprised that tourist sim cards with data were so expensive. 

Since I was just visiting Auckland and also didn’t need that much data I opted for an e-sim card. I literally bought my e-sim card for New Zealand using the free WiFi of Auckland International Airport.

I bought an Airalo e-sim card with 5G data for $16 USD. It worked totally fine and I was more than happy with my data speed and connection. But again, I just stayed in New Zealand.

Also, the reason I didn’t buy an e-sim card from Nomad is because at that time I didn’t hear about them yet. But the same 5 GB data would have cost me only $12 USD at Nomad and their e-sim card for New Zealand even operates on Spark, the best mobile data network in New Zealand.

Anyway, I am sure some of the above tips for buying a prepaid sim card for New Zealand were helpful and my information made it easier for you to pick the right sim card for your trip to New Zealand.

Let me know if you still have any questions and I am more than happy to help you out. Leave me a comment below. 

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 January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to New Zealand! 

Some links in this article about the best prepaid 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!