Canstar Blue Reveals | NZ’s Best Mobile Providers 2022

Looking for the best mobile deals? Canstar Blue reveals NZ’s best mobile providers: the winners of its 2022 Prepaid and Monthly Plan Awards.

When was the last time you checked your mobile plan to see if you’re getting the best value for money? According to Canstar Blue’s latest mobile plans awards research, only around a quarter of Kiwis keep track of their phone usage to ensure they’re getting value for money.

While there are many different plans on the market – from no-frills budget plans with limited calls and data, to expensive endless data plans – when it comes to the first choice any mobile user must make about their plan, the decision is simple: prepaid or monthly.

Best Mobile Providers: Prepaid or Monthly? What’s the difference?

Given that most prepaid plans auto-renew each month or week, it’s often hard to tell the difference between prepaid and monthly. But the main difference is in the name. If you have a prepaid plan, you pay up front. Whereas on a monthly plan, you pay at the end of your billing period.

Mobile Prepaid Plans

If you want the freedom to switch mobile providers to chase better deals. Or if your mobile usage changes from week to week, or month to month, and you don’t want to pay for more mobile than you use, then prepaid is the best way to get maximum value from your phone plan.

Prepaid allows you to pay upfront for the amount of data/calls/texts you want, either monthly or weekly. Prepaid plans also tend to offer the basics of text, talk and data cheaper than monthly plans.

However, as a more budget friendly option, they do lack the perks and frills offered by many pay monthly plans, such as hotspotting and free streaming services.

Mobile Monthly Plans

Monthly plans offer great value bundle deals with extra perks. Many come with added benefits, such as streaming services and hotspotting.

Some monthly plans also allow you to add on family and friends. These companion plans can reduce overall plan prices, and are great if you have a family with multiple mobile users. Plus monthly plans are more likely to include unlimited data deals, too.

This is reflected in our latest mobile phone research. This year’s award data shows that 37% of monthly mobile plan consumers have unlimited data, compared to just 15% of prepaid users. And that 12% are using group family plans.

Canstar Blue Reveals | NZ’s Best Mobile Providers 2022

But while the prepaid/monthly plan choice is a simple one to make, finding the right provider can be tricky. Comparing telco plans and pricing can be complicated, and it’s often difficult to decipher which mobile provider offers the best service and value for money. But that’s where Canstar Blue can help.

As part of our mission to inform consumers of the best NZ has to offer, each year Canstar Blue canvasses the opinions of New Zealanders who have mobile phone plans, and asks them to rate their providers across a range of categories, to measure their levels of customer satisfaction.

This year we surveyed close to 4000 Kiwis, who had either a prepaid or a monthly plan, and asked them about their providers and their levels of customer satisfaction across categories, including:

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Billing
  • Customer Service
  • Network Coverage
  • Provider Accessibility
  • Value for Money

And the results of our research are clear, two providers stand out above the rest. The winners of our two awards:

Most Satisfied Customers | Mobile Monthly Plans

Winner: 2degrees – NZ’s Best Mobile Monthly Plans

Thanks to a recent merger with broadband company Orcon, 2degrees is now a telco big hitter to rival competitors Spark and Vodafone.

Alongside its offerings in prepaid mobile and broadband, 2degrees has two types of monthly mobile plan, carryover data and endless, with data limits to meet all budgets.

Carryover Data Plans:

$35 Plan 3GB:

  • Free Data Hour every day
  • 300 Carryover Minutes to NZ & OZ
  • Unlimited* Calls to 2degrees mobiles
  • Unlimited* Texts to NZ & OZ
  • Shared Data
  • Hotspotting included
  • 5G ready

$45 Plan 5GB:

  • Free Data Hour every day
  • Unlimited* Calls to NZ & OZ
  • Unlimited* Texts to NZ & OZ
  • Shared Data
  • Hotspotting included
  • 5G ready
  • Sky Sport Now free for 6 months for new customers. Existing customers get 20% off.

$60 Plan 15GB:

  • Free Data Hour every day
  • Unlimited* Calls to NZ & OZ
  • Unlimited* Texts to NZ & OZ
  • Shared Data
  • Hotspotting included
  • 5G ready
  • Sky Sport Now free for 6 months for new customers. Existing customers get 20% off.

Endless Data Plans:

$75 Plan 40GB (max speed):

  • Free Data Hour every day
  • Unlimited* Calls to NZ & OZ
  • Unlimited* Texts to NZ & OZ
  • Group plans from $30p/m
  • Hotspotting included
  • 5G ready
  • Sky Sport Now free for 6 months for new customers. Existing customers get 20% off.

$90 Plan 100GB (max speed):

  • Free Data Hour every day
  • Unlimited* Calls to NZ & OZ
  • Unlimited* Texts to NZ & OZ
  • Group plans from $30p/m
  • Hotspotting included
  • 5G ready
  • Sky Sport Now free for 6 months for new customers. Existing customers get 20% off.

*Fair use policy applies

Click to compare Mobile Monthly Plans

Most Satisfied Customers | Mobile Prepaid Plans

 

Winner: Skinny – NZ’s Best Mobile Prepaid Plans

Skinny prides itself on being a no-frills prepaid-only provider. However, as Skinny is part of Spark, it also offers some of the same great interest-free phone deals as its telco parent. Skinny also uses Spark’s high-tech mobile network and, as a result, 5G is currently included in all Skinny plans at no extra cost, where available.

Keeping things simple, Skinny offers six prepaid plans, each renewing every 28 days, unless cancelled:

$9 Plan:

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

$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

Endless Data Plans:

$36 Plan:

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

Extras: Hotspotting

$46 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ ­– Endless Data (speeds reduce after 12GB)

Extras: Hotspotting

$70 Plan:

Features: Unlimited Calls & Texts to NZ & OZ ­– Endless Data (speeds reduce after 40GB)

Extras: Hotspotting

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

Click to compare Mobile Prepaid Plans


About the author of this page

Bruce PitchersThis report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. 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.


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