There may be a phone at the property you move into, or you can buy one from a wide range of shops; an electrical goods specialist or bargain chains. Prices vary widely. Skype works well in New Zealand and is used by many new migrants due to the very low rates achieved for international calling – for an overview visit the website www.skype.com.
Telecommunications providers generally provide services to the connection point in the dwelling, and it is the customer’s responsibility to acquire a phone or other suitable hardware. There are four main Telcoproviders – Telecom, Telstra-Clear, Vodafone and 2 Degrees -but their service offerings and capabilities do differ from region to region, so it is worthwhile looking around.
Public phones are usually located in town centres and suburban areas use pre-paid phone cards which are available from supermarkets, newsagents or dairies (small local shops). Directory assistance is available on 018, for a charge, or by using the White Pages, www.whitepages.co.nz
Mobile phone services are widely available. Mobile phones are sold at electronic goods shops or specialist phone shops.
All telecommunications service providers have offered mobile phone services and Vodafone has always been a mobile phone company. Lately these more established players have been joined by the NZ owned newcomer 2 Degrees.
Just as there were disputes over Telecom’s ownership of the last mile of the physical network, so have the Mobile networks argued over the costs of allowing users of the competitor’s network to complete calls to their customers. Scrutiny of this area became intense in 2011 as users became aware of a large apparent difference in the completion costs charged by NZ carriers compared to those overseas.
It is hoped the addition of 2 Degrees will help lower prices. However currently mobile phone charges are generally higher than in most other countries. – bt txtng is stll spr chp!!
New Zealand has a high rate of internet use, with nearly 75% of households having access to the Internet. Internet cafes and other Internet services are also common, and wireless internet (WiFi) is available in the central business districts of Auckland and Wellington.
Wellington currently has several advantages in the internet space; above national average salaries, population and business density in the central city, a dedicated fibre optic network in the CBD, laid on the city’s trolley bus lines and free WiFi in most of the downtown area. In addition there is a stand-alone fibre optic network to several key suburbs, the first in New Zealand.
These are the factors that have, on several occasions, had Wellington rated as ‘the most connected city in the world’.
Elsewhere there is now connectivity, good in many places and excellent in parts of Auckland and Christchurch. The development of DSL technology for copper phone lines has allowed acceptable speeds to be achieved in many parts of the country, and effort to increase this coverage is ongoing.
There is also mobile data coverage provided by the mobile telecommunications companies www.telecom.co.nz/mobile, www.vodafone.co.nz/mobile-broadband, www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/home
Digital communications – particularly mobile suit New Zealand well and there is no doubt the existing capability will continue to develop rapidly.
New Zealand is currently moving to digital broadcasting. There are brochures available to download about the changeover in English, Maori, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Cook Islands Maori, Fijian, Korean, Samoan and Tongan. There are thirteen free-to-air television channels and a number of subscription and pay-per-view channels, but to view all of them you need a digital TV receiver.
New Zealand has the most radio stations per capita in the world. More than 200 private stations and two public networks provide national coverage through repeaters across the country. Some larger private operators also network their programmes. If you want to see what’s available before you get to New Zealand, go to www.nzradioguide.co.nz where live internet streaming of over 80 NZ radio stations is available.
Information and some streamed content from the two public networks, Radio New Zealand National, and Radio New Zealand Concert, can be found at www.radionz.co.nz.