Paying Too Much for Mobile? NZ’s Cheapest Phone Plans

Are You Paying Too Much for Your Mobile? Canstar Reveals NZ’s Cheapest Phone Plans.

Are you paying too much to use your mobile? Last year, a report by the Commerce Commission revealed that a quarter of Kiwis are paying too much, and not accessing the cheapest mobile phone plans to match their phone usage.

The report states that: “A quarter of post-paid consumers could save an estimated average of $11.60 a month by moving to a cheaper plan that would still cover their usage.”

It also found that “7% of all residential consumers spent a relatively high amount on mobile services, given their usage, and that these consumers could potentially save an average of $48.65 a month”.

Part of the problem is that once we sign up for a phone deal, we just set and forget. If you don’t go looking for a better deal, how are you going to find one?

To help solve the problem, the Commerce Commission recommends that mobile phone plan providers “should provide more meaningful comparison information and guard against overspending by mobile phone consumers”.

Best Mobile Deals? Canstar Can Help!

And this is where Canstar comes in. As part of our mission to inform Kiwi consumers of the best deals on the market, we’re constantly assessing mobile phone providers and their plans.

Our annual Most Satisfied Customers | Mobile Prepaid Plans and Most Satisfied Customers | Mobile Plans awards, reward the mobile providers that offer the best products, value for money and customer service. For our 2021 award, Skinny Mobile took out top honours for both.

However, regardless of your choice of provider, if you are paying for an expensive plan with unlimited data, calls and text, when you only need a basic, cheaper package, you are not getting true value for your money.

But before you go hunting for a cheaper mobile plan more suited to your needs, consider the following points:

Choosing the Cheapest Mobile Phone Plans – Things to Consider

Do you want a monthly plan, or to go prepaid?

If you are uncertain about your budget and don’t want to commit to a monthly plan, then prepaid is the way to go. This way you can just top up when you have funds available. Furthermore, if you don’t use your phone much, and aren’t walking around with your data on all the time, again, a cheaper pre-paid option may be better. Even the cheapest monthly plans tend to have 4GB or more of data, and cost more than a basic pre-paid plan.

How much data do you really need?

Do you really need endless dataaaaa!? Go back over some bills to get a clearer picture of your true data usage. You may find you’re not using even close to what you’re paying for. Or, check out our story How Much Data Are Your Apps Really Using? How to Reduce Your Usage. You may find you can lower your data usage through disabling functions or apps that are operating in the background and chewing up your data.

→Related article: Unlimited Data: NZ’s Best Phone Data Deals

Do you call or text Australia?

If you’ve friends or whanau in Australia, the cost of keeping in contact can soon add up. Paying a bit extra for being able to keep in touch can be well worth it if you text or call regularly.

Do you already pay for Spotify Premium?

Spotify Premium costs $14.99 per month. Spark offers the service for half-price with some of its cheaper plans, and for free with its more expensive packages. This adds considerable extra value.

Hotspotting

Hotspotting allows you to use your phone’s data allowance on other devices via wi-fi. Some plans include it, some make you pay extra for it.

Adding other mobiles to your plan

Most providers allow you to add additional plans for a discounted rate. For example, as long as you pay for one full-price pay monthly plan, you might be able to add similar plans for the rest of your family, at a cheaper price.

Do note that the details of group plans vary between providers. Some provide the additional members with a different (typically less data) plan, some provide the same plan. Or, you may all share the same data. So if one member uses it all up, everyone misses out.

Prepay billing cycles

If you’re going prepay, billing cycles are a sneaky little detail you need to watch out for. 2degrees makes a big deal of the fact that, over a year, if you’re on its prepay, you only have to buy 12 packs – this is because each lasts a calendar month.

But other providers have different billing periods:

  • Spark, Skinny and Vodafone‘s prepaid packs last: 28 days
  • Orcon and Kogan‘s packs: 30 days
  • Warehouse Mobile: 31 days

If you do the math, you can see different levels of value: 28 (days) x 12 (months)= 336. But there are 365 days in a year, meaning on Spark, Skinny and Vodafone‘s prepaid plans, you’ll need to buy an extra pack, to cover those missing 29 days.

For Orcon and Kogan‘s packs: 30 x 12 = 360 – so you’re losing five days. But with Warehouse Mobile, 12 packs cover more than a year: 31 x 12 = 372 – that’s a full 36 days more than Spark, Skinny and Vodafone – a saving of over one month’s entire prepay package!

Cheapest Mobile Phone Plans

NZ’s Cheapest Phone Plans: $40 and under

If you think you are paying too much, check out this round-up of the cheapest mobile plans ($40 and under) currently on offer.

All figures correct as of 01/04/22


2degrees logo

2degrees

Monthly

$35 Plan:

Features: 300 Carryover Minutes (Unlimited to 2degrees mobiles) & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ ­– 3GB Carryover Data

Extras: Daily free hour of data, hotspotting


Prepaid: Calendar month

$10 Plan:

Features: 100 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ – 250MB Carryover Data

Extras: N/A

$19 Plan:

Features: 200 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ – 1.25GB Carryover Data

Extras: Daily free hour of data, Join & get 7.5GB of FREE Carryover Data

$30 Plan:

Features: 300 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ – 2.5GB Carryover Data

Extras: Daily free hour of data, Join & get 7.5GB of FREE Carryover Data


spark_logo

Spark

Monthly

$15 Rollover Plan

Features: 100 Rollover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ ­– 100MB Rollover data

Extras: Unlimited minutes to Spark mobiles

$25 Rollover Plan

Features: Unlimited Minutes & Texts in NZ ­– 500MB Rollover data

Extras: N/A

$39.99 Rollover Plan

Features: 300 Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ ­– 3GB Rollover data

Extras: Half-price Spotify Premium


Prepaid: Four-week period

$19 Plan:

Features: 200 Rollover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ – 1.25GB Rollover data

Extras: Half-price Spotify Premium

$29 Plan:

Features: 300 Rollover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ – 2GB Rollover + 2GB Socialiser Data

Extras: Half-price Spotify Premium


Skinny mobile phone

Skinny:

Prepaid: Four-week period

$9 Plan:

Features: 100 Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ & OZ – 250MB Data

Extras: N/A

$16 Plan:

Features: 200 Rollover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ & OZ – 1.25GB Rollover Data

Extras: Unlimited minutes to other Skinny mobiles

$26 Plan:

Features: 300 Rollover Minutes & Unlimited Texts in NZ & OZ – 2.5GB Rollover Data

Extras: Unlimited minutes to other Skinny mobiles

$36 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ ­– Endless Data (speeds reduce after 4.5GB)

Extras: Hotspotting

NB: Skinny also offers similar weekly plans, although they work out slightly more expensive.


warehouse mobile logo new

The Warehouse

Prepay: 31-day period

$12 Plan:

Features: 200 Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ (and 13 other destinations) – 500MB Data

Extras: N/A

$16 Plan:

Features: 200 Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ (and 13 other destinations) – 1.25GB Data

Extras: N/A

$38 Plan:

Features: 200 Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ (and 13 other destinations) – 5GB Data

Extras: N/A


vodafone logo

Vodafone

Prepay: 28-day period

$15 Plan:

Features: 100 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ – 1.0GB Rollover Data

Extras: Hotspotting

$20 Plan:

Features: 200 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ – 1.5GB Rollover Data

Extras: Hotspotting

$30 Plan:

Features: 300 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ – 3GB Rollover Data

Extras: Hotspotting

$40 Plan:

Features: 100 Carryover Minutes & 100 Texts to NZ & OZ – 8GB Rollover Data

Extras: Hotspotting


orcon logo mobile phone

Orcon

Prepay: 30-day period

$20 Plan:

Features: 200 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ – 1.5GB Carryover Data

$25 Plan:

Features: 300 Carryover Minutes & Unlimited Texts to NZ & OZ – 2.5GB Carryover Data

$43 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ – 6GB Carryover Data

NB: If your broadband is with Orcon you receive a $5 discount on any of the above plans.


Kogan

Prepay: 30-day period

$15 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ – 1.5GB Data

$25 Plan:

Features:

Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ – 4GB Data

$35 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ – 15GB Data

NB: Kogan offers a discount if you pay for the plan upfront for a year.


For more details about Kiwis’ phone habits, and the full rundown of our mobile phone and prepaid providers, click on either of the buttons below.

Click this button for prepaid providers:

Compare prepaid mobile plan providers here!

Or this button for monthly plans:

Compare monthly plan providers here!


author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an
experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.


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