Traveling With An iPhone: My New Zealand Experience

Following an article I wrote about a month ago about my experience finding a carrier for my iPhone while traveling through Australia, I wanted to write a quick post about my experience in New Zealand.

As I said in a post earlier last week, internet in Australia sucks big time, which makes me miss AT&T and I was wondering what kind of pay-as-you-go iPhone plan I could get in New Zealand. Prior to flying there, I contacted Chris Rawson, a writer at TUAW who recently moved to New Zealand to ask him what carrier he would recommend.

Chris suggested I go with Vodafone, who apparently is the largest carrier in NZ. Great, I thought. Now I just have to find a Vodafone store when we get in Auckland.

We flew from Sydney to Auckland. We went through the customs without much problems and as we were walking out, I noticed a Vodafone kiosk right in the airport, next to the car rentals offices. Perfect! I walked there, inquired about prices and in just minutes minutes, I had a fully activated SIM card as well as 100MB of data, which is what I need the most.

I also charged the SIM card with $50 which gives me $20 worth of talk time and an extra 500MB of data to satisfy by internet addiction. It took about 10 minutes from the time I started talking to the Vodafone guy to the time I walked away.

The 3G coverage in Auckland and in major cities is good, but as soon as you drive in the country, which is pretty much 95% of the country, you have to rely on GPRS or in some cases, don’t get any signal at all.

Dealing with Vodafone was a pleasant experience. Even though the coverage is not great in NZ, it’s better than nothing, and it allows me to write this post, while tethering my iPhone from Otorohanga.

We will be in NZ for a few more days, then we will return to Australia where we will stay in Melbourne for a few days before driving all the way west to Perth. I can see much more tethering in my future 😉