Free data access for health sector access

August 5th, 2020

Sponsored Data

The Sponsored Data initiative allows the public to access key health sector websites via mobile phone without incurring data use charges.

For some New Zealanders, the cost of mobile data can be a barrier to accessing essential health and wellbeing information and digital health services. Those who cannot access information and services are often those with the highest needs.

Sponsored Data (also known as zero-rated data) removes this barrier by providing free access to key health sector websites for anyone using the Spark, Skinny, Vodafone or 2degrees mobile networks. All mobile data charges for content hosted on these websites are automatically charged back to the Ministry of Health.

This ensures Kiwis won’t incur mobile data charges when they need essential information about COVID-19, health information and resources, or access to eligible GP portals. The initiative will be reviewed in June 2021 to determine its renewal period.

How do I access a sponsored website?

If your mobile phone is connected to the Spark, Skinny, Vodafone or 2degrees networks, all you need to do is make sure your mobile data is turned on before you enter the address of the sponsored website into the web browser on your mobile device. 

Sponsored data is available both for pre-pay users and those on monthly plans. However, it is not available if your device is set to global roaming, if you are using a mobile network outside of New Zealand, or if your mobile plan is with Warehouse Mobile, CallPlus, Slingshot, Compass, Black + White, Orcon, M2 or any other provider. 

What data usage is sponsored?

Most content on a Sponsored Data website is free to access from your mobile device if you are connected to the Spark, Skinny, Vodafone or 2degrees networks. However, any externally hosted content available through the website will incur data charges according to your usual terms and conditions.  

All websites included within the Sponsored Data initiative have reviewed their content to minimise the amount of externally hosted content, and to make it clear if clicking a link will take you to another website. For any external content other than video content, this will typically translate to a few cents of usage per visit.

This means you can browse sponsored websites to access core health-related information free of charge, but any YouTube videos or other external content on the website will count as data usage.

Which websites have sponsored data?

The focus of the Sponsored Data initiative is on websites that provide key health information, support your mental health and wellbeing, or allow you to access digital health services.

The Ministry of Health will continue to identify websites that align with health priorities and meet the technical requirements for the initiative.

The following websites have been included within the initiative as at 23 July 2020:

www.covid19.govt.nzGovernment website that brings together everything New Zealanders need to know about COVID-19 and how the government is responding. of Health website with a wide range of information to help New Zealanders manage their health digital front door for accessing information about health topics, medicines, healthy living and health services. programme to increase access to high quality health information. and resources to help New Zealanders recognise and understand depression and anxiety. and resources to help young New Zealanders recognise and understand depression or anxiety. and information for New Zealanders who have a gambling problem or are concerned about someone else’s gambling. for accessing digital health services. for accessing digital health services. and resources to help New Zealanders manage their mental health. Health Foundation website with support and information to help New Zealanders manage their mental health. Quality and Safety Commission New Zealand site that provides information and resources to New Zealanders. New Zealand site that provides advice and support for the health and wellbeing of tamariki under-five and their whānau.

More information

For more information visit the Ministry of Health website here.