There are an increasing number of competing telephone companies operating in New Zealand for the domestic land-line service. Telecom NZ (www.telecom.co.nz
) and Clear Communications
are the two main ones. Telecom NZ own the line system but make it available to a range of competitors to provide toll and computer Broadband services. In terms of mobile phones, Telecom NZ and Vodafone (www.vodafone.co.nz
) are the two main providers.
In the major cities, access to the Internet is straightforward. All of the major Internet Service providers (ISPs) (Telecom, Clear, Vodafone) have systems in place. It is important, though, to make sure that they have local numbers for the places you will be staying so that you don’t have to make an expensive toll call every time you went to get connected.
The Price of Freedom
An increasing number of wireless hotspots are available throughout the country. For both Mac and PC laptop users, Telecom offers a mobile device called a T-Stick, and Vodafone offers their vodem both of which plugs into the USB slot on your computer. You can access the internet anywhere in the country, however broadband speeds may be currently only available in the main centres, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. In other areas the speed can be reduced to dial-up. More coverage areas are coming soon - they say. Telecom provide either prepaid cards or prepaid numbers that you can purchase to link to their wireless system. You can purchase these by credit card on the Telecom login page from any hotspot location.
2degrees is NZ's fastest growing mobile phone network. .This company also provides a mobile broadband service, in a manner similar to that of Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone.
A search on NZ yellow pages (www.yellowpages.co.nz
) reveals a list of 134 locations for internet cafe services around NZ. So if you bring your laptop – or not, there are options for both fixed or wireless internet access.
Domestic and Local Calls
Numbers starting with the prefix 0800 (or 0508 for Clear) are usually free of charge and can be made from anywhere in the country, although they may not be accessible from some areas or from mobile phones.
Numbers starting with the prefix 0900 are usually private service numbers and bear a charge of $1 per minute or more. They cannot be called from payphones.
Local calls (that is, calls within the same region are free from a domestic phone.
Calls from a Telecom payphone to a local number cost $1.00 for the first 15 minutes and $0.20 per minute therafter.
Calls from a Telecom payphone to a Mobile number cost $1.20 per minute.
Toll (Long Distance) New Zealand Calls
Toll calls carry a charge. The charge varies depending on the provider and special rates that apply at certain times of day or week.
Calls from a Telecom payphone to a New Zealand number that is not in the Local Access number cost $1.00 per minute.
To call long-distance you must first dial the area code, followed by the number. The following are the area codes for the main centres:
If you are not calling long-distance (ie. within the same local calling area), then you do not need to include the area code (and you will be charged the Local cost above).. Calling outside the immediate locality but still inside the region, you must include the area code. A recorded telephone message will normally prompt you if you make a mistake. All numbers associated with listings in this website contain the relevant area codes.
It is possible to call international numbers from a payphone. Calls from a Telecom payphone to an International Direct Dial number (i.e. 00 followed by your International destination’s number) cost $1.50 per minute There is a toll-free country code directory service available (call 0170). Country codes are listed in the front of all telephone directories. To call another country, you must first call the country code, followed by the area code followed by the number. Calling San Francisco in the United States, for instance, you would call the country code (001), followed by the area code (415) followed by the number, ie. 001-415-XXX-XXXX .
It is worth carrying a mobile phone when you travel for making bookings, seeking information and so on. Mobile numbers in New Zealand usually have a prefix of 021, 022, or 027. Mobile coverage is good in the main urban areas but can be patchy in remote or rural areas.
You can bring your mobile phone from overseas, but you will have to have it modified with the addition of a SIM card. If your phone currently uses a SIM card, a New Zealand SIM card can most likely replace your current one to use your mobile phone on either of New Zealand’s Telecom, 2Degrees, or Vodafone network. Any Telecom or Vodafone shop, found in most centres, will be able to assist. Cost is about $35 plus a prepaid system that can be topped up at any post office or newsagent. Telecom NZ do not modify other phones, and require you to purchase a phone from them. You can also rent a phone from Vodafone (www.vodarent.co.nz) with pick-up and drop-off of the handsets at major airports. This can be arranged in advance over the internet.
There are a number of pre-paid telephone cards available in New Zealand. They can be purchased from post offices, newsagencies and hostels. They vary in value from $5 - $50 and can be used from any private or public telephone (photo left).
Costs vary, so it pays to shop around (both Telecom and Clear have cards). To make a call, you first dial the local or toll-free access number, followed by the PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the card. Recorded messages will tell you how much money remains on the card.