Want a shiny new iPhone 5S without paying more than $1000 up front? The simple answer is to get the phone on a plan. Vodafone and Telecom NZ offer an array of plans. I’ve listed them below in an interactive spreadsheet so you can quickly get to the data – and price – you want.
Buying a plan on a contract may be relatively painless, but you’ll end up paying more. Things can get really expensive if you decide to upgrade before the contract period is up. I don’t recommend committing to a long contract if you suspect you’ll change your mind.
And I don’t recommend committing to a carrier unless you know reception works well where you live and work. Nothing is worse than knowing you can’t change for another 18 months when you can’t make voice calls from your house.
If you buy an iPhone outright from the NZ Apple Store, the 16 GB model costs $1049, 32 GB is $1199 and 64 GB is $1349. Apple makes the lowest margin on the 16 GB model. The price of extra storage is fairly hefty on a per GB basis. On the other hand, you’ll quickly get frustrated if you don’t buy enough storage.
You can reduce the pain by carefully using cloud services. Apple’s iCloud gives just 5 GB for free. That’s stingy by most cloud standards and extra storage is expensive compared to other cloud services. On the other hand, it works well with an iPhone. Telecom NZ users can stretch data further with up to 1 GB a day of data from Wi-Fi hotspots.
Notes on the table
All the plans in this table offer unlimited text messages, subject to fair use provisions. In practice hardly anyone ever hits those limits.
All the plans in this table are for 24 month terms. If the carriers have 12 month plans, they’re well hidden.
If you go over your plan data caps there are options to buy more data. Both Telecom NZ and Vodafone charge 20 cents per megabyte as a casual rate when you bust your cap.
Vodafone’s unlimited minutes – also subject to fair use rules – applies to New Zealand and Australia.