Canstar Blue’s annual review of mobile phone plan providers has seen 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone reviewed & rated on their network performance, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order. Canstar Blue research finalised in February 2017, published in March 2017.
For the third year in a row, 2degrees has topped Canstar Blue’s customer ratings for mobile phone plan providers, achieving five stars across all research categories. Spark earned four stars overall, with Vodafone back on three stars.
2degrees makes it 3 years at the top
No longer is your mobile phone solely for making calls. Now, texting has become almost more commonly used, and data is a necessity for social media, cat videos and messaging apps like iMessage and WhatsApp. Evidently, mobile phones have become a big part of our lives, and getting a new phone on a plan can be a great way to maximise your mobile phone enjoyment.
Mobile phones on a plan are great because service providers allow you to get a smattering of calls, text and data bundled with your choice of mobile phone. This can be convenient because handsets are expensive these days! With many of the best phones retailing for over $1,000, you could save on overall costs by opting for a phone on a plan, rather than buying outright and finding your own prepaid plan, though there are pros and cons of both types of plans.
So which phone plan providers are offering the best bang for your buck? To find out, Canstar Blue produces an annual review, surveying hundreds of phone users to get their feedback on their existing provider. Providers are rated on customer service, billing clarity, network performance and value for money, amongst other factors. For the third year in a row, 2degrees was the standout performer in our ratings, earning five stars across all research categories.
How do NZ phone providers stack up?
Choosing the best phone plan for you means more than just picking the cheapest offer out there. That’s why our customer reviews also consider the level of service and accessibility offered by the providers. But when it comes to the exciting stuff, what exactly is on offer from 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone?
2degrees offers a staggering range of plan and phone options. 2degrees has access to the latest and greatest iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models, with an even wider variety of plans you can bundle your phone with. The latest iPhones, for example, are available from around $50 per month, and you can bundle your handset of choice with a range of competitive plans starting at around $30 a month. 2degrees ticked all the boxes in this year’s ratings, so there’s a good chance you’ll find the right plan for your needs.
Spark was another competitive brand, achieving four stars for overall satisfaction and indeed in many other categories. It also stood out with five stars for network coverage. Spark also provides the latest and greatest phones, with iPhones and Galaxy S7s available from around $40-50 per month. You can then bundle these phones with a choice of ‘terms’. Open term plans run month-by-month, but you will get many more perks and features if you commit to 24 months. You also get access to over 1000 Wi-Fi zones with Spark, and you are afforded 1GB every day on many plans, meaning you don’t always have to rely on your data. Plans start at around $40 a month, for which you’ll get some good data, text and call inclusions.
Vodafone was rated three stars overall by New Zealand customers, but the global telco still has plenty to offer. For example, Vodafone is the only phone provider of the three in our ratings to offer an explicit ‘plan builder’ on its website, where you first choose your plan, then choose your phone, then pay – and voila! These plans can get quite expensive, but you’ll get a stack of data inclusions for your troubles, plus unlimited talk and text, as well as calls to Australia. A number of handsets are available for $0 upfront, but for the latest and greatest you should expect to pay a nominal amount to kick things off.
Should I buy a phone on a plan?
Choosing a phone on a plan is a great way to get your hands on the latest smartphones, without having to stump up the full price outright. However, it’s important to check out the full terms and conditions of your plan before diving in to a lengthy contract. Make sure that you understand what you might be charged for exceeding your plan’s limitations, and how much it will cost you to break the contract early. Even if you are reasonably satisfied with your existing provider, it’s worth comparing offers from all of those mentioned in this report, to make sure you’re getting the right deal for your specific needs.
Canstar Blue commissioned i-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have an active mobile phone plan (including a handset) and they pay the bills – in this case, 624 people.
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 alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.