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Mobile phone plans in Ireland compared

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By Emma Grove / November 26, 2019
Mobile phone plans in Ireland

When comparing mobile phone plans in Ireland, between regional coverage, fair usage, prepay or bill pay, there’s much to consider. Here’s a guide to help!

Have you just arrived and are looking for mobile phone plans in Ireland? Or maybe you’re looking to switch providers? With nine mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) each offering a variety of mobile plans it’s difficult to choose which plan may be best for you. Between bill pay/pay monthly vs. pay as you go, regional coverage, fair usage, and out of bill charges, there’s a lot to consider when choosing your next plan. Luckily, Babylon Radio has assembled a guide comparing mobile phone plans in Ireland that will keep you and your wallet happy. 

Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)

There are three main MVNOs in Ireland: Vodafone, Three Ireland, and Eir Mobile. Six other MVNOs run their services off of one of these main networks. Here’s a breakdown of each major network operator and the MVNOs that run off their services:

Vodafone

  • Postmobile

Three Ireland

  • Tesco Mobile
  • Lycamobile
  • Virgin Mobile
  • 48

Eir Mobile

  • GoMo

You are likely to receive the same level of coverage from the major providers as you are with the other MVNO’s. What will really affect your coverage will likely be your location. 

Best mobile phone coverage in Ireland

Checking a provider’s coverage in your region is essential when choosing a mobile phone plan in Ireland. According to a study carried out by Roometrics in 2016, Vodafone has proven to be the most reliable network in Dublin for overall performance, network reliability and speed, data, calls and text. Eir was a close second, rating most reliable by these measures in Limerick. Both providers tied by these measures in Cork. 

In order to find which mobile phone plans in Ireland are best in your location, ComReg (The Commission for Communications Regulation) has created an outdoor mobile coverage map that allows you to check the coverage and signal levels in your Eircode (note: this is based on outdoor coverage only, coverage/signal levels may vary inside your home or office).

Pay as You Go vs. Pay Monthly/Bill Pay SIM Cards

Pay as you go SIM cards are a great option for while you’re settling in Ireland. While they are starting to emulate pay monthly/bill pay plans, Pay as you go plans are easy and cheap in the short term. Additionally, with Pay as you go, you only really pay for what you use and out of contract charges are impossible.. That being said, bill pay/pay monthly SIM cards tend to be better value for money for those who call and text a lot, particularly to international numbers. Below is a chart comparing Pay as you go vs. bill pay/pay monthly plans from Ireland’s top network providers (SIM only plans).

Provider

Bill pay/pay monthly SIM only plans

Pay as you go SIM only plans

Vodafone

RED Complete SIM Only

  • €25/month for the first 6 months, €35 thereafter (12 month contract)
  • 20GB Data
  • Unlimited calls and texts to any network
  • 5G ready
  • 100 international minutes
  • Roaming across Europe included
  • three month free trial of Secure Net
  • Weekly rewards courtesy of Fantastic Days
Smart Extra

  • €20 every 4 weeks
  • (offer reactivates every time you top up €20 or more in one go, no roll over credit)
  • 20GB data
  • Unlimited calls and texts
  • 100 any network minutes and texts
  • Roaming across Europe
  • Weekly rewards courtesy of Fantastic Days

Post Mobile

N/A All You Need prepay plan

  • €20/month(no contract)
  • 16GB data
  • Unlimited calls
  • Unlimited texts

Three Ireland

3 Unlimited Flex Max SIMO (30 day rolling contract*)

  • €30/month
  • Unlimited data
  • 11GB EU data
  • Unlimited calls to any Three network phone
  • Unlimited flexi units (one minute call/two texts)
  • 4G access
3Pay SIM – Prepay SIM Only Plan

  • €20/every 4  weeks
  • Unlimited data
  • 8GB EU roaming  data
  • Unlimited calls to any Three network phone
  • Unlimited any network texts
  • 4G Access

Tesco Mobile

Unlimited 30day (30 day rolling contract*)

  • €25/month
  • 20GB data
  • Unlimited mobile minutes and texts
Tesco Mobile Trio Sim + €15 top up

  • €15/28 days
  • Unlimited mobile minutes and Tesco Mobile texts
  • €5 Bonus credit (will expire after 28 days)

Lycamobile

International Red (30 day rolling contract*) 

  • €12.00/30 days
    • 1GB National Data
    • 1GB EU/EEA roaming data
    • Unlimited Poland and Romania Lycamobile Calls
    • 800 India and Europe minutes
  • Add on data bundle: Data L
    • 20GB national Data
    • 5GB EU/EEA roaming data
N/A

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile Unlimited

  • €5/month for the first 5 months, €25/month thereafter
  • Unlimited 4G data, calls, texts
  • 9.1GB EU roaming data

International add on optional: 50minutes and 50 texts to 27 European countries for an extra €5/month

N/A

48

The Don (30 day rolling contract*)

  • €20/month
  • 20GB data
  • 1000 mobile minutes
  • Unlimited texts
  • No EU roaming
  • 60 landline minutes
N/A

Eir Mobile

Eir Mobile Connect (30 day rolling contract*)

  • €14.99/month for the first 6 months, €29.99/month thereafter
  • No limits data
  • Unlimited texts and Irish calls
  • 30GB EU roaming data
  • Free Eir sport pack on your mobile
Eir Pay As You Go No Limits Data

  • €20 every 4 weeks
  • No limits data
  • Unlimited calls OR unlimited texts
  • 7.3GB data to use in the EU

GoMo

Our Plan

  • €9.99/month
  • Unlimited data, calls and texts
  • EU roaming (all calls, texts, and 10GB data)
N/A

*30 day rolling contract means that you can cancel your contract with 30 days notice at no extra charge

NOTE: ‘Unlimited…’ is based on Fair Usage Policies. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for each plan to avoid extra charges.

Out of plan charges

It is very important when getting a new SIM card is to read the terms and conditions of your contract. Your bill may skyrocket if you have usage/excess charges, if a discount or promotion has finished during your contracts, if you’ve added a service on to your plan, or if you have outstanding charges. Additionally, another common reason for out of plan charges are phone calls to other networks/landlines. Once again, be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions. If you’re worried about extra charges, then a pay as you go plan may be a better option for you. 

Luckily, most providers offer services to avoid out of plan charges so be sure to talk to a representative about this preventative measures before taking out a contract. Additionally, your bill will have a breakdown of your usage charges if you prefer to self-monitor your bill.

Which mobile phone plans in Ireland work for you?

There is no ‘perfect’ mobile plan. The plan that will be best for you depends on your location, budget, and usage habits. Before signing up for a contract or getting a pay as you go SIM, do your research. Compare coverage of networks with ComReg, read your terms and conditions, ask your friends what plans they use, and double check your provider’s services for preventing out of bill charges. Taking these precautions will keep both you and your bank account happy.

Are you loving your mobile phone plan? Put it in the comments below!

Moving to Ireland? Here are some articles that will be useful to you:

Opening a bank account in Ireland

Getting a personal public service number (PPS)

Photo: mroach, CC BY-SA 2.0

About the author

Emma Grove

Emma is a Californian-native, a food lover, and a Journalist for Babylon Radio. With a MA(Hons) from the University of Glasgow, Emma is interested in everything musical and cultural going on in Ireland!


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