Mobile Phone, Web and Mail in New Zealand!
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- Read the post
- 1Communicate in New Zealand.
- 2Using a Mobile Phone in New Zealand.
- 3Prepaid Phone Cards and Public Booths.
- 4Local or International Calls.
- 5How to Connect to Internet in New Zealand.
- 6Mail and Poste Restante.
- 7Some More Advice Before You Go ...
1Communicate in New Zealand.
Traveling with a Working Holiday Visa involves countless phone calls to settle formalities, contact your family or schedule meetings with the new friends you just met at a backpacker.
Also very important, access to the Internet is vital for the young traveler who drive on the roads of New Zealand.
As for the good old mail service, it is now almost exclusively used to send basic postcards.
But an excellent postal service allows to store the parcels you ordered on the Internet or the important messages from the tax administration.
How to pass phone calls without paying an exorbitant price, to connect to the Internet or retrieve a parcel from your family for the New Year... Here are some useful tips to begin your stay with your Working Holiday Visa.
2Using a Mobile Phone in New Zealand.
One can wonder about the quality of the mobile network in a country where the population density is infinitely lower than in Europe.
If the coverage is excellent in the North Island (the most populated one), it remains uneven in remote areas of the South Island. This should not be a problem in the vast majority of cases, especially if you live in large built-up areas.
You could almost randomly choose your mobile operators because they all use the same network...
Vodafone, 2 degrees, et Spark NZ (the national operator) all offer standard subscriptions, and you can also get a just a SIM card without a mobile device. And 2 degrees even allows you to use the Wi-Fi from many phone booths all over the country!
And if you can use your own phone in New Zealand it's even better. Opening a non-subscription mobile line at Vodafone costs about$35, including $10 of communication. The number assigned to you will start with 021, 025 or 027.
The guarantees and papers required by the operators are similar to those demanded almost everywhere in the world. Therefore, subscribing to a real mobile subscription may depend on your ability to first find an accommodation and open a bank account.
Under these conditions, there is a solution that can be used from time to time during the entire stay: the prepaid phone cards. Note: There are also pre-paid SIM cards which are really interesting.
3Prepaid Phone Cards and Public Booths.
The use of public booths and prepaid cards bring us back twenty years ago. Still, these antiques may be the only available solutions to you if you want to call abroad without paying too much.
Sold in post, tobacco and in small shops, prepaid cards offer credits of $5, $10, $20 or $50.
The most popular cards are Kia ora, Talk'n Save, Go Call, Talkplus, Easy Call and Kiwitalk.
The mode of operation has remained unchanged for decades.
Dial the phone number on your prepaid card and enter your PIN.
You can then enter the phone number of the friend to call and your account will be debited depending on the time spent online.
You will need to use the landline of a hotelier or a particular to call with these cards.
If it is possible to call from a cabin or a mobile device, your credits will be burnt faster (except with the Kiwitalk's cards which we recommend precisely for this reason). Note that prepaid cards do not recharge and end up in a trash (or as a trimmed guitar pick for the most creative ones among yourselves) when communication credits run out.
Public booths are still very numerous in New Zealand.
They are sometimes painted red (as in Dunedin) but mostly painted in blue and adorned with yellow ferns. Attention, they do not allow to receive calls (your family from abroad can't call you) but only to pass calls.
Models that accept coins are becoming scarce, and using your credit card would not be a very good idea because of overseas fees.
Too bad, because an unlimited local call costs only fifty cents ...
4Local or International Calls.
Making an international call is always a chore because you have to remember the international call prefix and how to dial the number of the recipient. Depending on whether you call someone in New Zealand or your country of origin, the procedure is not the same and the tariff can be exorbitant.
How much does it cost?
Depending on your operator, you can benefit from unlimited calls to New Zealand if you use the fixed network phone from your home country.
But most operators charge you 22 cents per minute!
The use of a mobile phone actually increases the price even more!
Check the details of your subscription to estimate your expenses, but it is certain that you will not stay hours online if the call is not free.
Our recommended solution for not being ruined is called Skype.
If your correspondent is connected to the Internet, you will not spend a penny and potentially take advantage of video conferencing (do not expect a high-definition quality if you are on the other side of the globe).
Note that Skype can also call a genuine phone number in New Zealand.
The price of $ 0.03 per minute is ridiculous but it climbs to 30 cents if you call a mobile number (they can be easily recognized because they begin with 021, 025 or 027).
How to Pass Phone Calls to New Zealand.
The international prefix of New Zealand is 64. But I guess a concrete example will undoubtedly be more relevant.
The number of the Department of Conservation in NZ is: (0) 6 759 03 50
From abroad, you can reach this number by dialing: 00 64 6 759 03 50
We just replaced the optional (0) with: 00 64
How to Call a Foreign Number From New Zealand.
Take for example the case where you want to call France from New Zealand. The principle is similar, and the international prefix of France is 33. Here is a concrete example to make sure that you have understood:
The number of the embassy of NZ in France is: (0) 1 45 01 43 43
From NZ you can reach this number if you dial: 33 1 45 01 43 43
We just replaced the (0) by: 33
How to Dial Local Numbers in New Zealand.
Each New Zealand phone number begins with an area code:
|Bay of Plenty||07|
|West Coast / Buller||03|
|Timaru / Oamaru||03|
Let's consider we are in Wellington. We want to call the embassy of France which is in the same city, whose phone number is: (04) 384 25 55.
We must remove the area code (04) from the beginning of the number and call directly: 384 25 55.
Then, let's imagine a situation where we are in Auckland and want to call the embassy in Wellington.
Since this is a call to another area, we keep the area code and dial: (04) 384 25 55.
The area code system is a bit confusing at first, but it is simple to use.
At this point you may believe you have understood everything, but it remains a small subtlety to understand...
The area code is to be deleted only if you are calling in the city where you are located. To call another city (even in the same area), you will need to keep your area code.
This allows to propose very short numbers for local calls in the same city.
New Zealand has many small villages and this arrangement simplifies life. But for Working Holiday Visa travelers who are not used to it, it's pretty confusing.
5How to Connect to Internet in New Zealand.
Internet exchanges use the only submarine cable that connects New Zealand to Australia. Given the distance, the speed of ADSL connections does not exceed a few megabytes across the country (the average rate is 4 megabytes).
New Zealanders are nevertheless addicted to the Internet and almost all the population is connected. Rest assured, the low bandwidth will not prevent you from consulting Kiwipal, because we have made the necessary to have a local server in New Zealand.
Internet at Home
Subscribing to the Internet only applies to people who have a fixed address in New Zealand. Note, however, that rentals (or shared apartment) usually include an Internet connection in the rent price.
But if you absolutely must take an Internet subscription, the procedure is identical to that applied all over the world. You must provide guarantees and wait for the activation of the line few days later.
It is normally forbidden to share (or rent) a Wi-Fi access with a neighbor.
Therefore, there is no need to meet other tenants to suggest sharing the Internet fee for a shared access. It would be so bad to save money (can you read between the lines?).
Cyber Cafes and Free Wi-Fi
Cyber cafes are on the decline, but they survive thanks to tourists and young people with a Working Holiday Visa.
Expect to pay 4 to 6 dollars per hour for surfing with a variable quality depending on the location.
Backpackers (ie youth hostels) generally charge Internet access for a low fee. The download speed is unfortunately often greatly reduced by the multiple attempts to connect on Facebook at the same time.
Taking advantage of your employer's Internet access is certainly a possibility. Guests can also enjoy free Wi-Fi in the libraries, cafes and public squares such as the Dunedin's Octagon.
Do not expect to use Skype under these conditions, but you will be able to send your emails and consult the job search websites.
6Mail and Poste Restante.
If you hope to receive a parcel and a good bottle of wine to celebrate New Year's Eve, you will need a postal address. If you rent an apartment or a charitable soul accepts to share its letterbox with you, it will not be a problem.
But if you do not have a postal address you will need to use the very efficient New Zealand's Poste Restante service.
Every post office in the country do not offer a poste restante service, but they are 45 to provide this service throughout the country.
You are guaranteed to find at least one remaining post restante in each city with more than 10,000 inhabitants.
The whole process is a child's play. Let's take a concrete example with Ms. Smith who wants to send a package to her son John who lives in Rotorua. Ms. Smith will use the poste restante service.
Ms. Smith sends her parcel to the John using the name of the city (Rotorua) and the appropriate zip code (3010):
- John Smith -
John can even call Rotorua's post office to find out if his package has arrived. A period of three weeks is granted for the withdrawal which only required to present a piece of identification at the counter.
Of course, this assumes that Ms Smith and her son has previously agreed to use a specific poste restante in New Zealand.
The service is free for letters and parcels less than three kilos. It is even possible to transfer the parcel from one post restante to another, for a $7 price.
Be careful, however, not to confuse the poste restante service with the PO boxes services, which are to be paid and do not allow the transfer of the mail.
7Some More Advice Before You Go ...
Your family and friends can provide genuine psychological support if you have the blues. Even the most hardened of us may feel disoriented before finding their marks.
Keeping in touch with trusted people can be crucial to take the right decisions. The prepaid phone card will be your faithful friend if you do not find a home during the first few weeks in New Zealand.
Before you leave your own country, you may have to cancel your telephone or Internet subscriptions.
Make sure that the closing fees are not equal to or greater to what you would pay in the meantime. Otherwise, keep your subscriptions to find them intact and functional when you'll return.
I hope to have answered most of your questions about the subject and I invite you to consult our other guides about the Working Holiday Visa.
You will discover many tricks to make a success of your stay. Meanwhile, I give way to Ben the Kiwi for the usual Question & Answer session.
Questions & Answers.
What can I do for you? I guess you do not need to learn how to use a phone ;-) But if you have any questions on this subject or about New Zealand, I'll be there for you!
- All topics ... 20 answers in total
- Public Phone Booths 5 answers
- Subscription and Mobile 5 answers
- Poste Restante 4 answers
- Prepaid Phone Cards 3 answers
- Internet & WiFi 3 answers
Public Phone Booths
- Where can I find a telephone booth?
The coin telephone booths are located almost exclusively in large shopping centers. These are the last places where they are still profitable.
- How much does a local call in New Zealand cost?
A local call from a cabin costs 50 cents for an unlimited duration.
- How to use public phone booths?
The cabins accept debit cards and sometimes coins. Note that they cannot receive calls as in Europe.
- What is the dialing code for New Zealand?
The code for New Zealand is 64.
- What is the phone code to call my own country?
The area code for France is 33.
Subscription and Mobile
- Should you subscribe for a short stay?
As part of a short tourist trip of a few weeks, telephone lines and Internet issues are secondary. You will be able to use your home country line, even if it implies to pay the few minutes of communication at a prohibitive cost. However, emergency telephone numbers are free in New Zealand.
- Which are the main mobile operators?
- Do I have to order a new mobile?
You can use your own phone if it is not locked by an operator. Contact your operator for the unlocking procedure.
- Why is my mobile using a New Zealand operator?
Your phone displays the name of the New Zealand network partner of your own operator. You can call, but paying a high rate. You will also receive an SMS that will communicate the rates to you (this is mandatory).
- How to compare mobile phone offers in NZ?
The "telme" website helps you to choose a subscription that corresponds to your real needs.Telme
- Where can I find the list of poste restante in the country?
The list of the "post restante" can be found on the official website of the post office:Postes restante addresses
- How many posts still exists in the country?
The remaining 45 postes restantes are spread over the two islands of the country. Each city with more than 10,000 inhabitants has at least one.
- What happens if I delay retrieving a package?
Any parcel not recovered will be retained a few weeks before being destroyed. You can always claim it by paying a few dollars.
- How do I collect a poste restante package?
Simply present yourself with a valid ID, such as a passport or a Hanzcard.
Prepaid Phone Cards
- How much does a prepaid phone card cost?
The cards cost between $5, $10, $20 and $50.
- Where can I find a prepaid phone card?
The cards are found in the vast majority of retail stores such as tobacco, service stations or supermarkets ...
- How to recognize a free number?
The world standard is respected and the free numbers start with 0800. Attention, calling a 0800 with a mobile phone may, however, be charged by your operator.
Internet & WiFi
- How to compare Internet service providers?
Use the free "internet choice" service to compare rates.Internet Choice
- How much does a connection in an Internet cafe cost?
The rates are very variable and usually range from $4 to $6 per hour. Subscriptions are offered with degressive rates but you can often get a 25 minutes access for one dollar.
- Where can I connect to the Internet for free?
Libraries often offer free Internet access, but they do not necessarily tolerate being transformed into cybercafes (avoid the use of Skype). You can also log into most coffees like at the Starbuck. Museums like Te Papa also offer Wi-Fi access points.
Seek advice from experts in New Zealand:
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