Mobile data brings the wide world of the internet to your smartphone, from casual browsing, to accessing emails and social media, video calling, and video and music streaming. However, data costs can quickly add up, so it’s worthwhile shopping around for cheap deals.
Retailer mobile offerings can be split broadly into postpaid (pay at the end of each month, based on usage) and prepaid (pay upfront) plans. So you’ll need to determine what type of plan is best suited to both your usage and budget.
Data has become a key selling point of plans, and in the following guide, we’ll take a look at what you should keep in mind when choosing a plan, and some of the best mobile data plans on offer.
Data usage and other factors to keep in mind
Keeping tabs on your data usage will help determine how much data you require for the apps you use regularly. (Data usage info is typically found in the settings menus of your device.)
For instance, if you regularly stream video, it’s worthwhile looking at data-heavy plans. For example, Netflix advises that each stream of SD video uses about 1 GB of data per hour, and up to 3 GB per hour for HD video.
Going large with data will generally work out cheaper per MB. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unused data represents wasted money. So, if you’re a light user, a cheaper plan will save you money.
Other factors to consider include:
- Mobile coverage – what’s the mobile coverage like from the different providers in your area?
- Expiry – what is the expiry date of a plan’s data allocation? Do you need to use it within a set period of time before it expires?
- Rollover/carryover data – some plans allow for unused data to be rolled over from one billing period to the next. This is a good option if you’re an irregular user of data.
- Hotspot – hotspotting, or tethering your mobile device, allows for sharing of your mobile data with other devices. Some retailers charge extra for this.
- Bundles – some retailers offer discounts when bundling a mobile service with a home broadband service. To check out the best bundle deals click here!
- Additional incentives – retailers may offer additional incentives with plans, such as discounts when multiple users sign up, or a free video or music streaming subscription.
- Account management and monitoring – what account management and monitoring tools are provided (including tools for keeping tabs on data usage)?
The following is a selection of postpaid plans with different data inclusions and a range of additional features.
Under Vodafone’s pay monthly Endless Data plans, customers are allocated a Max Speed data allowance. Once this allowance has been exceeded, speeds are reduced to a maximum of 1.2 Mbps.
The Endless Data plans are available as open-term plans, comprising a rolling monthly contract.
|Extra Large||100 GB||$100|
- Talk and text – unlimited to standard NZ and OZ numbers
- Hotspot – no extra cost
- 5G ready – available free until June 30, 2021, and then as a $10 monthly add-on
- Multiple plans – buy one Medium, Large or Extra Large plan, and add up to four more at half price (all plans must be of the same value, and be on the same billing account)
- Add-ons – data add-ons available (valid for the rest of the current billing month, or until all used up)
Spark’s Endless Mobile plans provide customers with an allocated data allowance at maximum speed, and endless data once this allowance has been reached, with endless data seeing speeds reduced to 1.2 Mbps.
The Endless Data plans are available as open-term plans, rolling from one month to the next.
|Endless Mobile – 10 GB||10 GB||$59.99|
|Endless Mobile – 40 GB||40 GB||$79.99|
|Endless Mobile Group – 40 GB||40 GB||$99.99|
- Talk and text – unlimited to standard NZ and OZ
- Hotspot – available for $10 per month
- Spotify and Netflix – the 10 GB plan includes half-price Spotify (Premium), and the 40 GB plans come with free Spotify (Premium) or Netflix (Standard Plan, HD)
- Group plans – add up to three mobiles at $29.99 each
- Free Wi-Fi – 1 GB per day, available at over 1000 Spark Wi-Fi zones
- Add-ons – data add-ons available (expiring after one month)
2degrees offers a range of plans with carryover data. Any unused data carries over each month, lasting up to a year. In addition to this, 2degrees’ 40 GB Full Speed plan comes with unlimited data, with maximum speeds reduced to 1 Mbps once the data allocation has been reached.
2degrees’ plans are available on a month-to-month basis.
|4 GB Carryover||4 GB||$40|
|10 GB Carryover||10 GB||$55|
|25 GB Carryover||25 GB||$70|
|40 GB Full Speed||40 GB||$85|
- Talk and text – unlimited to standard NZ and OZ numbers
- Hotspot – available for free
- Free data hour – for the 4 GB, 10 GB and 25 GB Carryover plans, downloading 2degrees’ Data Clock app and choosing when you want to start every day
- Data sharing – sharing with up to five family and friends who are also with 2degrees
- Pooling – for the 10 GB and 25 GB Carryover plans, and the 40 GB Full Speed plan, with the more people added (up to four people, depending on the plan), the cheaper it gets per person
- Add-ons – data add-ons available (valid for one month)
The following prepaid plans feature a range of data inclusions, and consumers also have the option of topping up with a data add-on if required.Skinny’s offerings include plans with either rollover data and minutes (valid for 12 months from the date of original purchase). They also come with endless data, with speeds reduced to a maximum of 1.2 Mbps once a plan’s full-speed data allowance has been exceeded.
The following Skinny prepaid plans are valid over a four-week period.
|28-day (rollover)||1.25 GB||$16|
|28-day (rollover)||2.5 GB||$26|
|28-day (endless data)||4.5 GB||$36|
|28-day (endless data)||12 GB||$46|
|28-day (endless data)||40 GB||$70|
- Talk and text – all the plans feature unlimited texts to standard NZ and OZ numbers, and come with varying call inclusions. The $9 plan comes with 100 minutes, while the $16 and $26 rollover plans come with 200 and 300 rollover minutes, respectively (along with unlimited Skinny-to-Skinny calling), and the endless data plans unlimited minutes
- Hotspot – is available with Skinny plans
- Add-ons – 7-day and 28-day data add-ons are available for selected plans (add-on data does not rollover)
- Data Binge – delivers users short-term unlimited prepaid data, with a number options available, from 10 minutes through to 12 hours
Orcon describes its mobile plans as “prepay mobile with postpay billing”, stating that it combines the benefits of prepay with the convenience of being billed on a monthly invoice. Under all of Orcon’s plans, unused data rolls over to the next month and is valid for up to 12 months.
Orcon’s plans renew every 30 days.
|Unlimited Txt & Calling||6 GB||$43|
- Talk and text – all of Orcon’s plans come with unlimited NZ and OZ texts. Orcon’s Basic and Value plans come with 200 minutes and 300 minutes of NZ and OZ calling, respectively, with its Unlimited Txt & Calling and Ultra plans coming with unlimited calling
- Add-ons – data add-on available (add-on data does not rollover and expires after 30 days if unused)
Warehouse Mobile’s Combo plans come with rollover data, which can be rolled over for up to 90 days.
Warehouse Mobile’s plans are valid for 31 days.
|$12 Combo||500 MB||$12|
|$16 Combo||1.25 GB||$16|
|$38 Combo||5 GB||$38|
- Talk and text – all of Warehouse Mobile’s plans come with unlimited NZ and OZ texts, and 200 minutes of NZ and OZ talk (along with 13 more destinations)
- Add-ons – data add-ons available (at the end of 31 days, any unused data can rollover for up to 90 days)
*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.