mobile rates

Standard national and international rates from a Spark mobile

The table below shows the standard mobile rates for national and international calling, text and picture messaging, video calling and voicemail retrieval. These rates apply if your current plan, packs or extras don't contain an allocation of calls or messages of that type, or if you've used up all of your allocation.

Some examples of when standard rates would apply:

  • If you have a Prepaid Data Lovers pack (with no minutes included), you'll pay the prepaid standard rates for NZ calling.
  • If you have a Pay Monthly Rollover plan with 300 minutes, and a Talk extra giving you another 100 minutes, you'll start paying the standard rates once you've used up your 400 minutes of calling.


Standard rates are effective from 25 August 2020.  

Allowance type Pay Monthly Prepaid
Data $0.59/MB $1.00/day for 10MB. $0.30/MB for additional data
Standard texts $0.20/message $0.20/message
NZ calling $0.89/minute $0.49/minute
MMS (picture messaging) $0.50/photo message
$1.00/video message 
$0.50/photo message
$1.00/video message 
Video calling $0.69/minute $0.89/minute
International SMS $0.30/message $0.30/message
International calling (Australia, US, Canada, UK, Ireland) $0.89/minute $0.91/minute
International calling (rest of the world) $1.49/minute $1.43/minute
Voicemail Free $0.20/retrieval

How calls are charged

The charges for calls made from your mobile phone are set out in your prepaid pack or pay monthly plan. Generally there's a minimum one minute charge for each call. After the first minute, calls are charged by the minute unless otherwise stated in your pack or plan.

Your prepaid pack or pay monthly plan’s allowance excludes calls to:

  • Special numbers (for example, 018)
  • Numbers provided through calling cards
  • International numbers
  • International toll free numbers
  • Satellite phones

These will be charged at the rates advertised by the relevant service provider.

About MMS (Picture messaging)

An MMS message is a multimedia message. With MMS you can send pictures, emojis, animations, audio and videos via your mobile. Sometimes SMS (text) messages convert to MMS too – we explain this below.

It’s important to note that there's a charge for sending an MMS. Charges are displayed in the table above. Any charges for an MMS will appear on your bill as a separate line item labelled 'Picture Messaging'.

Devices convert SMS (text) messages when:

  • Using iPhone messages and sending features and effects to a non-iPhone user. Or, when iMessage is unavailable.
  • The SMS includes a non-standard smiley or symbol such as an emoticon, emoji or iPhone X Animoji. We've explained emoji's in detail below. 
  • The SMS is sent to an email address instead of to a phone number. 
  • You send a group SMS message.
  • The SMS message exceeds the character limit - on some phones this is 160 characters, on others it can be higher.
  • The SMS message has a subject line.

Sending an MMS instead of an SMS is down to the phone you're using and not to do with the Spark network.

If you use emojis in a message it may be treated as an MMS depending on how long your message is and where you get the emoji from.

Each emoji is worth two characters, so if you send a message of 100 characters with an emoji on the end, this will be sent as an SMS and your normal SMS rate will apply. However, if you send a message with 159 characters with an emoji on the end, this will be 161 characters in total, and will be sent as MMS.

If you use the built in emoji feature on your device, messages with an emoji that are:

  • 160 characters or fewer are sent as a text message. 
  • Over 160 characters are sent as an MMS.

If you use a downloadable app feature to send an emoji in a message, then this will always be sent as an MMS no matter how long or short the message and your usual MMS rate will apply.

  • Charges for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) are determined by the behaviour and settings of your mobile device.
  • The way a mobile device sends, receives, and processes MMS can affect the associated charges.
  • Spark does not have direct control over MMS charges incurred.
  • You are responsible for managing your device settings to avoid unwanted MMS charges.

How to avoid MMS (picture messaging) charges

You can disable the ability to send MMS messages on your mobile device. If this functionality is turned off and you attempt to send an MMS, you'll receive a notification that the message is undeliverable, and no charges will apply.

The process varies depending on your device, so please refer to your device provider's guidelines to disable MMS.

To avoid being charged for an MMS, you can always send pictures, videos and audio using mobile data or WiFi.  Use free third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.  

If you have an Apple iPhone, you can turn on iMessage to send messages to other iPhones. These messages go via mobile data or WiFi so they are not chargeable as an SMS or MMS and will use your data allowance instead. 

About video calling

There's a charge for video calling through your mobile phone. Charges are displayed in the table above.

If your mobile can make video calls, then it'll already be set up. Just dial your contact, select 'Options' and then 'Video Call'. Video calling works for calls made between two video-capable mobiles on the XT Network, and also on overseas calls to video-capable phones in any of our international video calling destinations. 

To avoid video calling charges we suggest you use free third-party apps like WhatsApp or Facetime. This will use your mobile data allowance or WiFi.