Posts tagged micro sim

NZ map

iPad – XT, Vodafone and 2Degrees comparision


Well the iPad is out in NZ now (although the Apple NZ site still shows Notify Me at the top right for where the Order Now button should be as spotted 1st by Lance Wiggs).  Anyway, in addition to this meaning that I now won’t get swamped by people when I pull the iPad out in public, it does mean many of the NZ telcos have also released micro sims and also iPad data plans.  So here’s the round up.

iPad summary for New Zealand across telcos

For each item, any clear winner is marked in green, with any clear last place network marked in red (blue is for hyperlinks, so ignore that colour!)


XT (Telecom)


3G network

Next week

(only have coverage in 50% of NZ)

Coverage Map

Yes, full

Coverage Map

Yes, but not 3G in all of NZ for the iPad1

Coverage Map

Micro Sims

Available now Available now Available now

Data Plans


$6 for 50MB2

2Degrees iPad Data plans here

500MB – $29.95 (1GB is $59.90)

2GB – $59.95 (4GB is $89.90)

4GB – $79.95 (8GB is $109.90)

XT Pre-Pay Data Plans here See note 3

250MB – $20

3GB – $50

Vodafone iPad Data Plans here See note 4

Data Plans


Not yet available

500MB – $29.95

2GB – $49.95/$59.95

4GB – $69.95/79.95

XT Contract Data Plans here See note 5

No idea.  Some other voda plans MAY work, but remember some plans are “add ons” only (meaning is has to be added onto an existing Phone Plan, no a stand alone data plan.

Price of Micro Sim

Free to swap, or $20 with $20 credit.

Prepaid $29.95 / Postpaid $19.95 (free on open term 500MB plan)

Free according to the web site (but $6.95 postage)

Data charges special conditions

30 Days Expiry on pre-pay

Charges full amount each month when used at all.

PREPAY: 30 Day expiry for pre-pay.  Offers special 10c/MB until hit cap, and also $29.95 in a month to double data

CONTRACT: Can do the “double up” for $29.95 (see note 5)

30 Days Expiry on Pre-Pay

Charges full amount each month when used at all.

  1. See this post for why XT is full 3G for the iPad (and iPhone 3Gs/3G) where as Vodafone is not.  Or check for yourself by comparing coverage on XT with coverage on Vodafone and coverage on 2Degrees or this speed test between XT and Voda on an iPad in NZ
  2. 2Degrees data all expires 30 days after purchase.  50c/MB over 50MB.
  3. XT pre-pay charges 10c per MB capped at rate you set (e.g. if on 2GB then capped at $59.95)  Then for a further $29.95 your data doubles (so 2GB goes to 4) and then its 10c/MB after that.  These “double up” rates are show in brackets in the table above.  All XT rates are the same as other mobile devices.  A reminder some plans on XT are add ons only, meaning they can only be added onto an existing phone plan (i.e. not for data only devices like the iPad)
  4. For Vodafone, these are special iPad only plans.  In theory one might be able to use any of Vodafone’s data plans, but their web site implies that these are the only plans avail, so I am listing these only.  Remember, like XT, some plans are add ons only, meaning they can only be added onto an existing phone plan (i.e. not for data only devices like the iPad)
  5. XT rates for 2GB and 4GB contract are reduced by $10 if Home/Business broadband plan.  The table above shows this.  Also they offer the same “$29.95 for to double data for the month” as they do with Pre-Pay.

My recommendations on plans (updated 26th July 2010)

For light users:

  • The 29.95 XT pre-pay plan is best.
  • If you only use 20MB, that’s 10cx20 = $2, if you use 100MB, that’s $10, and so on up to 295MB (anything between 295MB and 500MB is $29.95).

For heavy users:

  • The XT 2GB plan (on pre-pay or contract, whatever is easier for you).   The double up to 4GB for a further $29.95 makes this plan very flexible (and good value).     Same apples to the 4GB plan – but I would be hard pressed to use 4GB, let alone 8GB, on an iPad.
  • If you insist on Vodafone and are only in the major metros most of the time, their 3GB for $50 plan is quite good, but know that Vodafone does NOT have a 3G network in all of NZ, and that even where it does XT is heaps faster most of the time.

UPDATE 27th July 2010:

Check out my new iPad pricing graphs for data here – it shows all the cross over points right up to 10GB or all pre-pay plans.

Other useful related links

Black and White Version: XT is still the way to go for the iPad (better coverage, and better conditions on plans) but at least there is a choice of three carriers now.

Update 26th July 2010: Made some corrections in line comments below – thanks Reuben! Removed some XT casual plans, and updated notes on XT and Voda.

Updated 29th July 2010: Updated 2Degrees info on micro-sim availability and pricing.

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MicroSim Adapter 3FF mini-UICC Shop

Micro sims, what you need to know in New Zealand


Anyone looking into getting an iPhone 4 will hopefully know you need a micro sim for it.  The same applies for the 3G iPad, and for that matter many other high end phones/mobile devices coming out in 2010/11.

Just in case you didn’t know – a micro sim is smaller than a normal sim (called a mini sim).  The good news is you can make one by cutting bits of the edge of your existing mini sim (as I explain in my earlier post) AND for Kiwis, both Vodafone and Telecom have announced they will have micro sims available for their networks soon.

HOWEVER, this needs some thinking about, and I have some advice: If you you are thinking about an iPad, iPhone or indeed any device that uses micro sims the issue is LESS about cutting up old sims or getting the new micro sim and MORE about how to convert it back to a full size mini sim in case you want to use it in some other (older) device.  Cutting stuff off is (relatively) easy.  Adding bits on less so.

So here’s how it works.  If you are going to have an iPhone 4 or iPad 3G then:

  1. Get yourself a micro sim (or make one as I explained here)
  2. Get yourself a micro sim to mini sim adapter (basically a piece of plastic that bulks out the micro sim back to full size).  Costs less than $5 if you buy a few of them.

Now you have the best of both worlds.  You can take use your sim in ANY device.

To get the micro sim to mini sim adapter you could order one from here (that’s where I got mine, I got the five pack, and they arrived in the post within a week) or in New Zealand buy one off trade me, (it shows $20 for one when I searched just now – a tad pricey!) or anyone could order a micro sim adapters from here.

In Australia (and I am sire other places) there some extra advantages.  Vodafone actually offer BETTER data plans for the iPad (the only device in OZ as of today that uses the micro sim) than they do for mobile phones ($14.95 for 1GB, compared to $19 for 500 MB on other devices).   You could take your micro sim from your iPad and put it in your normal phone or mobile data stick using the adapter and then access the lower rates.  Even without the lower rates, you can still swap between ANY device with it this way.  You can also share data amongst more than once device (useful in NZ if you have, for example, a 4GB data plan on an iPad, but also get to use it in a data stick).

Black and White Version: Converting a mini sim to micro sim is easy, but converting back required an adapter.  If you have an devices using the new smaller micro sim its a good idea to trim them all so you have flexibility with what sim you put where.

Acknowledgment: The image above is from gomircorsim’s web page (the people I ordered my adapters off).

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iphone 4 large

iPad, iPhone 4, micro-sims and new data plans: The round up


This week a lot has happened in the iSpace (ie iPad, iPhone) and mobile broad band arena in New Zealand. Here’s the summary:

On the selling front:

The good news is there are two serious players in the mobile broadband/ iSpace (ie iPhone, iPad etc).  Not only have Telecom (XT) kept in the game by offering micro sims, but also their new data plans are at least in the right direction price wise (still expensive compared to most places, but getting there!).  With the new iPhone 4, and the iPad being able to fully take advantage of both XT and Vodafones 3G networks, it means we have choice.  Choice is good.

Black and White Version: Mobile broadband is still expensive in New Zealand.  At least we have two players and not one (and XT still kicks Vodafones ass IMHO).

Post to come: I intend to outline how to have ONLY a micro sim these days is the way to go, even if the device you have uses the older mini sims. (Update: The micro-sim post is here)

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iPad 3G in New Zealand – a full review


Let’s cut to the chase here – I like the iPad 3G (a lot) and it works well on NZ mobile networks (especially XT).  There are however a few things to bear in mind, and this applies to when you order a US based iPad (or one from another country).

  1. For now, you will need to trim a sim card to use the 3G part (WiFi work rights out of the box)
  2. You need a US based iTunes account to use the App store (since the iPad isn’t in NZ yet, there is no NZ store)
  3. Everyone will want to play with your new toy!

Lets deal with this in three parts:

  • Part 1: More details for each of the three points above
  • Part 2: A full review of the iPad 3G in New Zealand
  • Part 3: HOW you get an iPad into NZ (as Apple wont deliver outside of the country you order it from – and only the US have them for sale as of today)


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IPad 3G in NZ – Guide to using XT


I have blogged a whole bunch on the iPad, the new micro-sim, and the choice of network (XT all the way!).

Anyway .. the boys over at have made an EXCELLENT GUIDE for cutting up your sim and getting your new shiny iPad 3G working in NZ, so rather than me re-hash it, follow the link!  I was actually researching this today, so it saved me a bunch of work PLUS means I don’t have to write up my own guide here :-)

It even includes a cool wee template so you can trim your sim card to fit (sample shown on the right).  I am not gonna plagiarise their work – so go to the site and read.

Black and White Version: XT is the network of Choice for the iPad in New Zealand, and yes it works, you just need a pen-knife and a new sim card (for now)

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Will iPad work in NZ – an update (XT vs Vodafone)


In my earlier post I incorrectly said that unlike the iPhone, the iPad wouldn’t play well with Vodafone’s network in NZ.

Well I was wrong.

The iPad 3G and the iPhone 3Gs frequency specs are the same.  See below for a cut and paste from apple’s web site for each device. (Note the only difference is the iPad supports “n” on Wi-Fi, but the iPhone doesn’t).

iPad: Wi-Fi + 3G mod

iPhone: Cellular and wireless

  • UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only2
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR wireless technology

So what does this mean?  In New Zealand both Vodafone and Telecom (through their XT network) support the iPad.  HOWEVER two important notes on this:

1) Only Telecom has announced micro-sims.  Although they haven’t actually got any yet (I checked today), so looks like will need the pen knife tick to cut down a sim card to make it fit for now (see my earlier post on trimming sim cards for the iPad)

2) More importantly: While the iPad 3G will run on both networks, just like the iPhone, its FAR better on the XT network as the faster UMTS/HSDPA runs on 850 not 900 (XT uses 850, Voda 900 nationwide), meaning that outside of major cities (where Vodaphone uses 2100MHz as well as 900), Vodafone is way slower than XT on an iPhone (it drops back to GPRS speed, which is more or less like fast dial up!).  PLUS it’s been shown by HEAPS of times on forums and tech reviews alike that XT is wasy faster in the metro areas too.

So, I was wrong (no debate there)

Black and White Version: XT will still be better for the iPad, for the same reasons it is better for the iPhone (i.e 3G coverage everywhere and a way faster network).

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Telecom to get micro sim cards (think iPad)


In an announcement via Twitter today, Telecom announced that MIcro-SIms for XT are on the way.

This is quite interesting news (exciting even, but I think saying that may make me sound geeky). Not only does this mean in New Zealand we won’t have to cut our sim cards in bits to get one to fit into an iPad, BUT Telecom beat Vodafone to the party with the announcement AND as I have already blogged about, XT are actually a FAR superior network to run the iPad on (far more so than even the iPhone – and that’s saying something, coz everyone has reported that already!)

In case anyone reading this is going WTF?, the Apple iPad (only) uses micro-sim cards (far smaller than the standard sim) for the 3G version and it wasn’t certain that anyone in NZ would offer them until now – so this is GOOD news.  Micro-sims are explained more in my earlier post on this.

Black and White version: XT may still be like the Ferrari that keeps breaking down (you know: ultimately better, but kinda quirky) but their 3G frequencies and micro-sim means they are getting the jump on Vodafone for the iPad.

HatTip: (a great site for NZ based iPhone related stuff).

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iPad: micro-sim and mini-sim


UPDATE: This post is superseded (well mostly) by this new post that outlines HOW to actually put a sim in an iPad in New Zealand, and how it works on XT better than Vodafone etc. You can still read this post all about what a Micro Sim is (and mini sim), but the “how to” of iPhones and sims in NZ is here.

With all the hype of the iPad launch around us this week, one thing that has gone relatively unanalysed  is the need for a micro-sim not a mini-sim (which is what 99% of us use in phones at the moment) in the iPad.

While no carrier that I know of outside the US has announced that they will supply micro-sim cards on mass to the consumer (yet that is), the GOOD news is that the actual core of both cards is the same – so if you want to attack your existing GSM mini-sim card with a pen knife, it SHOULD work.    Just like the old days when you could trim your sim card so two fitted into the space of one, and then could have a phone with 2 sims (certain phones that is!).

As reported on CreativeVision blog, this is indeed good news!

There is one caveat: Apple claims that to save space, they switched to the next generation Micro SIM standard. This is like a regular Mini SIM card, which is used by most mobile phones today, but with the excess plastic around the chip chopped off. But it turns out that the chip itself is not only the same size but electronically identical, as confirmed by the GSM association, so the good news is that even if your mobile phone network only supplies the older Mini SIM cards, you’ll be able to simply cut off the excess plastic yourself and fashion a DIY Mini SIM card. Cheap data roaming here we come, just remember to bring a steak knife!

This means even if Vodafone and Telecom (XT) don’t launch micro sims in NZ, there is a creative way of getting existing sims to work.

I for one will wait for the first report of someone actually doing this!

Of course many have asked why apple would do this – after all the iPad is hardly tiny! (the iPhone is MUCH smaller and doesn’t use/need it), and Engaget offers some comments:

In fact, from AT&T’s perspective, this is better than a software lock in some ways — you’re not going to be able to download a hack that gets you on another network, so you’re totally at the mercy of your carrier at choice for providing a compatible card. Intentionally evil? Perhaps not — all standards have to start somewhere — but it’s an awful pain in the ass.

I for one am waiting for the 3G version launch before I consider buying an iPad, as WiFi is just not well enough supported in New Zealand.  Depending on when I get one (ie do I go to OZ and get one early) this might mean my cutting skills get some practice :-)

UPDATE: Thanks to an excellent question from my good friend Mark, I have spotted there could be an issue for Vodafone with the iPad.  Not about sim cards, but around frequencies that they use for their network(s).

This is because the iPad supports 850,900, 1800 and 1900 MHz and NOT the 2100 MHz that the iPhone supports.

XT (Telecom) uses 850 MHz for it’s XT WCDMA network, so is fine.  But Vodafone uses 2100 for its WCDMA in all major cities and only has 900 MHz on WCDMA (the fast 3G network) in rural areas.  It’s has a full nationwide network on 900, but not on WCDMA, so it will be slow(er).  Ironically it will be fine in rural areas on Voda – just not the cities!

Details here if you want to read.  This might cause issues for Voda.  Watch this space!

Update 2: I was wrong about the frequency issue (the rest is still fine).   All explained in a new post here.

Black and White Version: We still don’t know what Apple decided on the micro-sim, but at least we know (think?) a normal sim can be trimmed to work.

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