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International cell phone (new zealand)

Old 07-01-13, 01:13 PM
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International cell phone (new zealand)

To start off, I have investigated some similar threads I found on these forums, but I still have some questions for touring cyclists who go abroad and require cell phone/data usage.

My specific interest is the best (and preferably cheapest) cell plan for 6 months in New Zealand. I currently use a prepaid service in the states (virgin mobile) which doesn't seem to have great international support. So my thinking is trying to get my current phone unlocked and purchasing a sim card for NZ. However, it seems there are a plethora of carriers and options. Some seem better for cities while others may be better for rural NZ.

My main requirement is data, and it needs to have good enough coverage to sustain me on a tour of both islands. Does anyone have any experience with telecom, 2 degrees, etc?

Any feedback appreciated!

Thanks
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Old 07-01-13, 10:17 PM
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I don't think your USA VM phone will work in NZ because it is a CDMA and almost everywhere else in the world uses GSM. No SIM card in your VM phone. Wait until you get to NZ and buy a cheap phone or hotspot for your data.
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Old 07-01-13, 11:35 PM
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Might be charged at the Roaming rate, heard of it happening..

local Kiwi phone perhaps .. or go retro, send postcards.
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Old 07-02-13, 01:01 PM
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I haven't been in NZ for a few years now, so my perspective might be a bit out of date. I think TexBiker is correct - your phone probably isn't compatible with the NZ cell phone networks.

Generally speaking, NZ data plans will be small compared to what Europeans or Americans are used to. This is because data needs to go across the ocean by cable.

If you go for the option of buying a phone there, the local version of eBay is called trademe.co.nz.
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Old 07-02-13, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by texbiker
I don't think your USA VM phone will work in NZ because it is a CDMA and almost everywhere else in the world uses GSM. No SIM card in your VM phone. Wait until you get to NZ and buy a cheap phone or hotspot for your data.
In the US we have both GSM and CDMA carriers. For example, T-Mobile is a GSM carrier and Verizon is CDMA.

The original poster mentions Virgin Mobile which according to this list (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...vice_providers) is CDMA. So "prepaid" isn't quite the same as can unlocked in his case.

It is possible to buy unlocked GSM phones in the US. Here for example are the specs for the Google Nexus 4 phone: https://www.google.com/nexus/4/specs/ The phone I use is a Samsung Galaxy Y Duos S6102 phone which is a dual SIM unlocked phone (can purchase on Amazon and other places). In the USA, one of the dual SIMs runs on the T-Mobile network and another runs on the AT&T network, but both are GSM networks. It is also obviously possible to buy GSM phones in New Zealand.

Other than unlocking his CDMA phone - I think the original poster is on the right track in inquiring about the cell phone networks in New Zealand. That will determine which SIM card he buys there and with which carrier. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to that question. As far as buying a phone in USA vs. New Zealand, also don't know that choice, though have had no issues bringing unlocked phones from USA and using them on GSM networks in Europe, Africa and Asia. I did have an issue once when I wasn't paying attention and brought a T-Mobile (GSM) phone to Egypt without realizing it was still locked.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:12 AM
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Good info on global GSM systems at this link, for example you will notice that the frequencies used in USA are different than where you are going, you will want a quad band phone if you want to also use it in USA.
https://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html

I bought an unlocked quad band GSM android phone just for travel, sounds like you may need to do the same. At home (in USA) I do not even have a SIM card for my travel phone, I use Virgin Mobile at home. I got my unlocked android phone on ebay.

I only get data on wifi when I travel, I have never had a phone data plan, I only have had voice plans. Sorry I can't help more on data options.

If you get an android phone and if you anticipate having good wifi coverage in the areas where you will be, you might want to get a VOIP phone plan that you can use on an android phone. I have a Google Voice account with a different phone number that I can use on my android phone when I have wi fi coverage. But if you get a Google Voice account, you need to get it while still in USA. I use the Google Voice and Groove IP Lite apps to use my travel phone where I have wifi, I have even made phone calls from McDonalds using their wifi when I do not have a SIM card in the phone.
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Old 07-04-13, 12:17 AM
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Thanks all for the helpful info, this will help me decide whether or not it is viable to bring my current phone or not. As for carriers, it seems that telecom is the verizon of New Zealand in terms of coverage. I will definitely look into the VOIP plan though, but my main concern was not having access to data coverage when I need it. Although it seems every small cafe nowadays has wifi.
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Old 07-08-13, 02:18 AM
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I was in Vietnam last year, I took a tablet with me. Enough wifi hotspots to surf the web and use skype.
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