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Roaming with Skinny Mobile: What You Need to Know

Traveling can be cheap or expensive. It depends on the airline you fly with, how much luggage you bring with you, how early you book your ticket, and whether it is off- or high-season. Skinny is fairly cheap compared to other telecom providers in New Zealand. But is it cheap to roam with Skinny? Can you even roam with them, and is it worth it. Let’s find out today.

Can I roam with Skinny?

Skinny customers can roam with either one of the 3 Roam Packs starting at $10 which gets you at least 100 min, 100 texts, and 500 that can be used in 36 destinations or roam at Casual Roaming Rates in 66 destinations starting at $0.44/min and $0.70/SMS. Data roaming is not possible in 30 destinations at casual roaming rates.

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

What do I need to know about roaming with Skinny?

Skinny has three roaming packs priced at $10, $15, and $20 (New Zealand Dollars – NZD). One of them, the $15 pack, is a data-only pack, while the other two, the $10 and $20 packs, give you some minutes, texts, and data.

Below are the perks you get from each roaming pack:

  • $10 3-Day Roam Pack – 100 minutes, 100 texts, and 500 MB
  • $15 7-Day Roam Data Pack – 1 GB
  • $20 7-Day Roam Pack – 200 minutes, 200 texts, and 1 GB

If you purchase a Skinny Roaming Pack, you can use your minutes, texts, and data in other destinations where the add-on is available (a list of destinations can be found in the section In what destinations can I roam with Skinny).

For example, you purchase the $20 Roaming Pack, which gives you 200 minutes, 200 texts, and 1 GB of data, for your 2-day trip in Australia. After Australia, you want to go to Singapore for 3 days and Malaysia for 2 days before heading back to New Zealand. You could use up your allowance in all these destinations because the Roaming Packs are available in these destinations.

It is recommended to purchase your Skinny Roaming Packs once you arrive at your destination or close to leaving New Zealand because the Add-On will become active at the time of purchase.

Those who do not want to purchase a Roaming Pack or go to a destination where Roaming Packs are not available need to have enough credits to roam. You can top up on Skinny’s Top Up page.

Now sure how much data you will need? Below is a table with estimated data usage for various actions at various lengths.

Note: The table is best viewed in landscape mode or desktop view (when on mobile)

Activity15 min30 min60 minOther
Browsing 5 MB 10 MB 20 MB   –
Social media 5 MB 10 MB 20 MB   –
Video streaming (YouTube) 60 MB 120 MB 240MB   –
Music streaming 15 MB 30 MB 60 MB   –
Skype video chat 20 MB 40 MB 80 MB   –
Google Maps 9 MB 18 MB 36 MB   –
Email (without attachments)  – – – 1 MB per 40 emails

Estimates are based on average device consumption using a 4G network. The data usage estimated will be less than that detailed in the table above. Data usage will vary depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to, device used, network used, device settings and applications on the device. Source: New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Inc (TCF) – International Mobile Guide “The Guide“, 2018. (The link may open a PDF depending on your browser settings. The PDF is the guide of which the estimates have been retrieved.)

How do I enable Skinny Overseas Roaming?

Those who want to roam on Casual Roaming Rates do not have to do anything, except for having enough credits on your card to roam.

Those who want to purchase a Roaming Pack can do so on the Skinny Website, via SMS, by calling Skinny, or on the Skinny app. The most convenient way of buying a pack would be through the Skinny app or the website.

Where can I roam with Skinny?

The Roaming Add-ons are available in the 36 destinations. Casual roaming rates apply in 66 destinations.

Roaming Pack Destinations.

Roaming Add-ons can be used in the following destinations:

Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!

Roaming at Casual Roaming Rates

In addition to the 36 destinations where the Roaming Packs are available, one can roam in 30 other destinations at Casual Roaming Rates. The rates vary per destination and per action.

1. Prices are in New Zealand dollars per minute or SMS
2. Data roaming is not possible without a Roaming Pack
3. L. Call stands for Local Call
4. Call to NZ or VM stands for Call to New Zealand or Voicemail
5. Int. Call stands for International Call
6. Inc. Call stands for Incoming Call
7. Table may be best viewed in landscape mode or desktop view (when on mobile)

DestinationL. CallCall to NZ or VMInt. CallSMS
Argentina$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Australia$0.44 $0.44 $1.00 $0.70
Belgium$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Cambodia$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Canada$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
China$2.00 $1.00 $2.00 $0.70
Cook Islands$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Czech Republic$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Estonia$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Fiji$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
France$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Germany$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Ghana$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Greece$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Hong Kong$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
India$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Indonesia$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Ireland$2.00 $1.00 $2.00 $0.70
Isle of Man$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Israel$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Italy$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Japan$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Latvia$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Lithuania$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Malaysia$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Malta$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Monaco$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Nauru$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Netherlands$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Oman$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Papua New Guinea$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Philippines$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Romania$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Samoa$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Saudi Arabia$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Singapore$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
South Africa$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
South Korea$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Spain$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Sweden$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Thailand$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Tonga$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Turkey$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
United Arab Emirates$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
United Kingdom$2.00 $1.00 $2.00 $0.70
United States$2.00 $1.00 $2.00 $0.70
Vanuatu$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Vietnam$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Hungary$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Guernsey$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Jersey$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Monaco$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
American Samoa$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Polynesia$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Poland$2.00 $1.00 $2.00 $0.70
Portugal$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Taiwan$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Kiribati$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Benin$3.00 $3.50 $3.00 $1.00
Nigeria$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Egypt$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Switzerland$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Monaco$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Croatia$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Austria$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00
Qatar$5.00 $6.00 $5.00 $1.00

Can I roam on planes with Skinny?

In-flight roaming is not possible with Skinny.

Can I roam on cruise ships with Skinny?

Maritime roaming is not available with Skinny.

Is roaming with Skinny worth it?

Unlike the roaming deals of many providers, the Skinny Roaming Add-Ons provide good value for the prices.

Paying max $20 for 200 minutes, 200 texts, and 1 GB of data which can be used within 7 days in 36 destinations is a better deal than you can get elsewhere.

One thing that makes these roaming packs so attractive is the number of destinations you can use them.

According to Skyscanner, South Korea, Fiji, Thailand, India, Australia, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom were the most popular travel destinations for Kiwis in 2018 – the Overseas Roaming Add-Ons cover all these destinations.

Additionally, unlike some other roaming value packs, you can use your Roaming Add-Ons in multiple destinations within the allowed timeframe of your add-on. If you can crunch the aforementioned 7 destinations within a week, then you can use your add-on for 7 days, as long as you have not gone through your minutes, texts, and data.

Even if you are out of your allowance, you can easily purchase a new Roaming Pack if needed, as there are no restrictions on how many you can purchase (you would be surprised how many providers put a limit to it – it is like they do not want your money!).

By using Skinny’s roaming packs, you do not have to worry about getting multiple local sims in case you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip

But, roaming on your home sim should always be done in moderation, even when roaming is “cheap”.

If you use 5 GB a week when in New Zealand, and you do not think you can cut your data usage down, then getting a local sim should be considered. If you do not, then you would be spending $75 on 5 $15 7 Day Roam Data Packs, which is a waste of money. You can easily get a local sim that can get you more data for less than $75.

Roaming at Casual Roaming Rates, however, is something that should be avoided when possible.

The only destination where you could consider to roam at those rates would be Australia where you can call at $0.44 per minute, and send text messages for $0.70 per text.

Data roaming without a Roaming Add-On is not possible, meaning you do not have to worry about data roaming bill shock (which can be expensive). However, you still get charged for picking up a phone call, which is $1/min.

Making a local call can be as high as $5/min and calling back to New Zealand or listening to voicemails can be as high as $6/min.

I have a general rule for those who are traveling abroad: do not listen to voicemails. For some reason, listening to voicemail is always so expensive, it is unbelievable. Sometimes, it is more expensive than data roaming (per minute or per MB).

Usually, those who want to roam abroad want to data roam, which makes roaming at casual roaming rates unattractive because you cannot. On the other hand, you could have been charged $10/MB (which is not unusual), so you probably would not have been data roaming anyway. Using WIFI hotspots and using internet-based apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or Skype would be better for your wallet.

In short, roaming with Skinny is worth it if you can use one of their 3 Roaming Add-Ons. They provide good value for money (max $20) and cover many popular destinations. Roaming on Casual Roaming rates should be avoided when possible unless you are in Australia and want to make local calls or calls to New Zealand. Get a local sim or an international sim instead. You do not have to worry about data roaming bill shock with Skinny because you cannot data roam without a roaming add-on.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices for your preferred destination drops.

Book Your Accommodation

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the currency of your destination for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

Enjoy your trip!


Disclaimer: Information and prices are current as at the date of publication and are subject to change. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for our Content Disclaimer.