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I'm planning on getting a SIM card for my smartphone while visiting NZ for a Contiki trip, with internet access being my only concern.

Wikivoyage mentions that Vodafone has a traveller SIM. The price is fine. The only worry I have is the quality of its coverage. In Australia, its reputation for service quality was bad enough that it got called "Vodafail". It might have improved recently though.

What is Vodafone's mobile data quality like, in terms of the amount of coverage, and the quality of coverage in those areas? I'll be staying on the North Island, and will be going between Auckland, Paihia, Waitomo, and Rotorua.

  • Coverage should be generally OK where it exists at all. Note that if you want 3G or 4G you will do less well in some areas than with other providers. BUT consider buying a "Skinny" mobile as well. Skinny is a low cost provider owned by what was Telecom NZ (now Spark), uses the same cell sites and has the best coverage in the country in most cases. At present (Boxing day sales) you can buy a basic Android 4.x capable Skinny mobile with SIM included and probably some talk and data time on for $NZ19. I do not have a Skinny mobile, yet, but intend to buy one for internet access while .... – Russell McMahon Jan 1 '15 at 11:59
  • .... travelling . You will probably need to pay somewhat more than that for a phone which can generate a Wifi hotspot- allowing use by other WiFi equipped phones and several users at once - but prices are extremely good for phones that do not meet the current must-have profile. Low cost phones are locked to the provider BUT AFAIK they are obliged to unlock them for a smallish standard fee if asked (may be $NZ18?). – Russell McMahon Jan 1 '15 at 12:01
  • ... The locak auction site www.trademe.co.nz has a zillion phones (new and used) and everything else and is a great place to obtain well priced gear countrywide. Auctions offering buy-now, pay-now service can get stuff in your hands in a few days or same day in the city of sale when pickup is allowed. [If you want some local stuff done in advance contact me offlist and I may be able to help. See profile for email.] – Russell McMahon Jan 1 '15 at 12:05
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If you are staying on the North Island in populated areas (which you are, mostly), you should have no trouble with Vodafone coverage. The coverage gets a bit thin in more remote areas on the South Island, but that's not a problem for your planned trip.

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    Could be a bit sketchy around Waitomo, depending on exactly where OP is staying. Auckland, Rotorua and Paihia should all be fine. – Dawood ibn Kareem Dec 31 '14 at 2:06

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