International roaming or local sim (Aotearoa NZ)?

I’m heading the Aotearoa New Zealand for 5 days, and looking at options for my phone.

Anyone have thoughts on /experience with local sims v roaming (I’m with Optus)?


My preference is for a cheap local sim.

Optus charges $10 per day for international roaming, that adds up.

If you’ve got a dual SIM phone then put a local SIM in the second slot, if you haven’t then buy (or borrow) a cheap second phone and put the local SIM in that.

They also offer $35 for 7 days. Talk / Text included. 35gb of data over the 7 days. Makes the most sense given you’re going for a few days.

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Hmmm I didn’t see that option when I was overseas a few months ago… do you have a link?

Can’t seem to find it…

Doesn’t seem to appear on their website. Only shows up in their phone app. I used this back in August so it’s been there a little while.

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Don’t forget that it’s only a matter of time before iPhones in our region go SIM-less. I’m not sure how many AU/NZ carriers support eSIM.

I’m not sure that’s something that’s going to happen soon… I know the US phones are ESim only but that’s a special case.

Maybe iPhone 16?

I find that the convenience of using my australian mobile number easily justifies the use of a deal like the Optus one quoted. I am with Vodafone. They charge $5 per day overseas (same as Optus, but without the limited data cap) to allow use of my phone with my normal plan whilst overseas.

It means I still receive SMS messages as normal, so two factor authentication via SMS works normally. I receive my incoming phone calls (remember them) to my normal number, and my generous data plan may be used. I do not have to change the way I use my phone, or change settings to ensure I stay within a more constrained data cap.

For shorter trips (say up to a month) I agree with you but I spend 6 months in Australia and 6 months overseas each year and the ‘per day’ plans get expensive over that time frame.

What I do is use a dual SIM phone, my local SIM (which is Optus post paid) roams to a local provider data is turned off for that SIM. Incoming messages work fine without data turned on and are free so the 2 factor authentication via SMS works normally.

The other SIM is my local SIM which has data turned on and the phone defaults to this SIM for outgoing calls and messages.

If needed I can use the Optus daily data plan (have not had to do that so far) or call Australia using the Optus SIM which I have done a couple of times over the last 5 years (simply so that the incoming number to the party I was calling matched my on record details).

It’s a simple 30 second task to set the phone up this way upon landing overseas, after buying a local SIM at the airport and getting it activated, which can take a few minutes.

Not trying to convince you to change, just explaining in more detail why I do it this way.

Good point. My trips are usually measured in weeks, not months.

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Thanks all. I picked up a vodafone SIM at the airport. For such a short trip, not sure it was worth it with the limited data, not really using it, and not receiving any calls.

At least Messages continued to work…