Consumer NZ

Find recommendations on products, trusted businesses, exclusive deals and consumer advice.


Find and compare the best gas and electricity options for you.

Answers to your questions about mobile phone plans.

What do you mean by "mobile"?

When we say "mobile" we mean mobile phones on a national network.

What type of plan do I need?

Phone plans fall into two main categories: monthly (or post-paid) account and pre-paid plans. Think about how you'll mostly use your phone, as this influences the type of plan that will best suit your needs.

Monthly account plans

Monthly account plans are most suited to people who use their phones often. The most common monthly plans charge a fixed fee every month. This allows a certain number of "free minutes" during peak or off-peak times, depending on the plan. After the free minutes are used up you pay per minute.

Most new post-paid mobile phone plans also include mobile data. This is different from mobile broadband, which does not include any texts or calls.

Many monthly account plans require you sign up for terms of 12, 24 or 36 months. They may also come with special deals such as free or discounted phones. These plans can lock you in to one provider, pricing plan and phone for a long time. Given the rapidly changing nature of the mobile market a shorter term is preferable.

Pre-paid plans

Pre-paid plans are a good choice for people whose main use of the phone is for texts or occasional phone calls. They are also good for parents who want to control their children's usage, or as an emergency-only service.

"Credit" is paid in advance onto your phone, and topped up when it's running low. Topping up is via credit card online or by phone, with top-up cards from retail outlets, or by money transfer via certain ATMs.

There is no long-term contract, and the only restriction is having to top up by a minimum amount once a year.

What plans are shown in the questionnaire results?

The results display the best options for the answers you provided. If a company offers a product that provides more than what you need, then these products will also be displayed.

Will I be covered wherever I go?

Mobile coverage depends on a huge number of things, but most importantly where you are. TelMe does not include any coverage information for mobile networks. This includes international roaming, where prices differ greatly between networks depending on which countries you are visiting.

We recommend that you check the providers' coverage maps and international roaming rates before signing up.

Coverage maps:

International roaming:

Do you have mobile phone prices as well?

TelMe does not cover the huge range of mobile phones available to consumers. Similarly mobile price plans listed here do not include the price of the phone. For the latest review of mobile phones, please check the Consumer NZ report (paid content).

Many mobile plans come with a discount or subsidy on a phone if you sign a contract locking you in for a particular length of time. Due to the extra complexity this brings TelMe does not cover this information.