Compare Monthly Mobile Plan Providers in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. 2degrees, Spark, Slingshot Mobile and One NZ were compared on Overall Satisfaction, Accessibility of the Provider, Assistance Managing Data, Billing, Customer Service, Network Coverage and Value for Money.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Our review compares mobile providers on customer satisfaction, so you can discover what other Kiwis think about our compared plan providers before you sign on with one of them. Think of it like asking hundreds of your closest mates which mobile plan provider they think is best!
Canstar Blue surveyed 2250 Kiwis who have an account with a mobile provider and asked for their feedback on their mobile provider.
Respondents rate their satisfaction with their providers from zero to ten, where zero is extremely dissatisfied and ten is extremely satisfied. Brand satisfaction was rated by respondents on the following criteria:
The winning brand is the one that receives the highest Overall Satisfaction rating once all the scores from the Overall Satisfaction criteria are combined and averaged.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included, so not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The brands rated in this survey are listed below in order of best overall satisfaction.
Find more information on our Most Satisfied Customer methodology.
Once again, 2degrees dominates our award ratings, earning a near perfect set of ratings from its many satisfied customers. The only monthly phone plan provider in this year’s ratings to score a top 5-Star rating for Overall Satisfaction, it achieves nearly a clean sweep of top ratings across all categories. Its one 4-Star rating is for the coverage of its network, as it continues to roll out 5G across the country to match its already excellent 4G network.
2degrees offers four monthly plans. Extra group plans can be added to all plans except the 3GB plan, from $30 per month.
And all plans come with a great perk: a free hour of data each day to use at a time that suits your data needs:
All plans offer unlimited calls to other 2degrees mobiles, hotspotting, free voicemail and are 5G ready.
In second place on our award ratings table with a 4-Star rating for Overall Satisfaction, Spark also achieves an impressive tally of top 5-Star ratings. It’s clear that customer service is one of Spark’s strong points, as it achieves three of its four top ratings in the consumer-centric categories of Customer Service, Accessibility and Billing.
Spark offers three rollover data plans and three endless data plans:
Endless data plans:
All Spark plans offer hotspotting and free voicemail. Spotify Premium worth $15 per month or $7.50 half-price.
Add up to three additional team-up eligible plans to a main plan for savings across all plans:
Slingshot isn’t a big standalone telco, but its mobile deals are popular with its broadband and power customers. It earns its highest ratings for its Customer Service and Billing. As Slingshot uses the 2degrees mobile phone network, it’s no surprise to see that it earns a 4-Star rating in that category, too.
Slingshot has a range of well-priced monthly mobile plans that come with the added bonus of offering a $5 discount per plan off your broadband bill if you bundle your mobile and broadband services together.
Rounding out our ratings, One NZ achieves an admirable mix of ratings across all categories. While it scores predominantly great 4-Star ratings, including for Value for Money, it scores 3-Star ratings for Overall Satisfaction and Customer Service.
One NZ keeps it simple, with three endless mobile plans, two of which are eligible to be teamed up with companion plans for a considerable discount:
All One NZ plans offer hotspotting, fee voicemail, One NZ rewards and are 5G ready.
NB: All prices correct as of 01/06/2023 and don’t include current deals. For further details, visit individual providers’ websites.
It’s always interesting comparing consumers across Canstar’s research. And our latest mobile awards have revealed an interesting distinction between prepaid and plan mobile consumers: plan customers are a lot more reliant on data. Across all data-related fields in our research – from navigation, to financial, banking and social media and communication apps – use is about 10% higher among phone plan users than prepaid users.
This is a reflection of the monthly plans available, which are being constantly updated. The majority of monthly plans now come with unlimited data, albeit with speed caps, which is reflected in our research.
In last year’s award research just over a third of consumers (37%) had endless data, this year it’s nearly half (46%). And, as a consequence, the percentage of monthly plan users who consider provider assistance in managing data as very important has slumped, from 9% to just 5%.
Although one statistic remains the same: the overwhelming number of mobile phone customers who cite value for money as the biggest driver of their satisfaction with their phone provider.
Here’s the full rundown of what the consumers in our survey say are the main things they consider when rating their mobile plan providers:
There are three main mobile networks in the country, which were built by 2degrees, Spark and One NZ (formerly Vodafone). Although both 2degrees and Spark sold off their tower assets recently, they still use the networks they built.
In major centres, there’s very little difference between the three networks. However, in rural and remote areas coverage can vary dramatically. And then there’s 5G, which is more limited in its reach, even in major centres.
Here a rundown of the networks and which other monthly plan providers use them:
Network reaches 97.5% of New Zealanders (with 4G at around 97%). Spark’s network coverage map can be found here.
Network covers over 98.5% of the population (with 4G at over 96%). One NZ’s network coverage map can be found here.
Network covers 98.5% of the places New Zealanders live and work (with 4G at over 96%). 2degrees’ network coverage map can be found here.
→ Related article: Which Provider Has the Best Mobile Coverage?
Prepaid plans are phone plans that require you to prepay for the telco service: i.e. you pay in advance for phone services to use within a set time period. Once that expiry period is over, you need to recharge your plan in order to continue your service. If you use up some of your data/text/talk allocations before the expiry period, you will need to either recharge your plan, wait until your next recharge (and not have certain services until then) or purchase an add-on for an additional cost, such as extra data, if applicable.
Postpaid plans differ in that you pay after using your phone plan allocations. Typically, you receive a monthly bill from your telco, usually on the same date, that you have to pay by a certain date. If you have used more than your plan’s inclusions, you might incur additional charges on your bill.
The main advantage of a postpaid plan is that you’ll never be left unable to make a call, send a text message, or use mobile data to chat online. If a prepaid plan expires, you need to spend extra money immediately to get your service back up and running. However, postpaid plans allow you to keep using your service, and simply settle the bill later.
The main disadvantage of postpaid phone plans is the potential to blow out your budget if you’re not careful. Make sure that you know exactly what you will need to pay for going over your plan’s inclusions, keep an eye on your data use, and make sure that exceeding your monthly allowance doesn’t become a habit. If it does, you could be better off upgrading your plan, rather than paying extra in excess charges.
The safety net of being able to make calls whenever you need to means that postpaid phone plans are probably a good idea for those who use their phone a lot.
If keeping close tabs on your spending is important to you, then prepaid may be the wise alternative. But when it comes to ease of use and maximum bang for your buck, it’s hard to look past postpaid plans.
This report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.
Always have phone within reach: 73%
Use apps to communicate with others, rather than traditional calls and texts: 67%
Use phone for directions while driving: 59%
Use phone to arrange everyday finances: 59%
Access internet mainly through phone: 58%
No longer have a landline: 58%
Listen to voice messages: 52%
Have unlimited data: 46%
Keep track of plan usage to get value for money: 24%
Regularly use a card loaded onto phone to make contactless payments: 23%
Have switched mobile providers to get better value for money: 16%
Data cap is the major consideration when choosing phone plan: 20%
Canstar Blue surveyed 5046 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from respondents who have a monthly mobile plan. In this case, 2250New Zealanders. Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criterion.
The past winners from Canstar Blue’s Monthly Mobile Plan ratings:
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