Did you just arrive in the city 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:
- Tesco Mobile
- Virgin Mobile
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 are 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 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).
|Bill pay/pay monthly SIM only plans
|Pay as you go SIM only plans
|RED Complete SIM Only€25/month for the first 6 months, €35 thereafter (12 month contract)10GB DataUnlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls and texts to any network5G ready60 minutes to other Irish mobile or landlineRoaming across Europe includedthree month free trial of Secure NetWeekly rewards courtesy of Fantastic Days
|Data Unlimited 5G€20 every 4 weeks(offer reactivates every time you top up €20 or more in one go, no roll over credit)Unlimited 5G dataUnlimited calls and texts100 any network minutes and textsRoaming across EuropeWeekly rewards courtesy of Fantastic Days
|All You Need prepay plan€20/month(no contract)16GB dataUnlimited callsUnlimited texts
|3 Bill Unlimited 5G SIMO (30 day rolling contract*)€35/monthUnlimited data45GB EU Roaming dataUnlimited calls 5G Ready
|3Pay SIM – Prepay SIM Only Plan€20/every 4 weeksUnlimited data21GB EU roaming dataUnlimited calls to any Three network phoneUnlimited any network texts5G Access
|All in SIM (30 day rolling contract*)€20/month100GB dataUnlimited mobile minutes and texts21GB data use in EU
|Tesco Mobile Trio Sim + €15 top up€15/28 daysUnlimited mobile minutes and Tesco Mobile texts€15 Bonus credit (will expire after 28 days)
|Ireland Plus (30 day rolling contract*) €15.00/30 daysUnlimited national minutes25GB national dataUnlimited Poland and Romania Lycamobile callsAdd on data bundle: Data L20GB national Data5GB EU/EEA roaming data
|Virgin Mobile Unlimited€5/month for the first 5 months, €25/month thereafterUnlimited 5G data, calls, texts27GB EU roaming dataInternational add on optional: 50 minutes and 50 texts to 27 European countries for an extra €5/month
|The Don (30 day rolling contract*)€20/month20GB data1000 mobile minutesUnlimited textsNo EU roaming60 landline minutes
|Eir Mobile Connect (12 month rolling contract*)€19.99/month for the first 12 months, €29.99/month thereafterNo limits dataUnlimited texts and Irish calls32GB EU roaming dataFree Eir sport pack on your mobile
|Eir Pay As You Go No Limits Data€20 every 4 weeksNo limits dataUnlimited calls OR unlimited texts31.5GB data to use in the EU
|Our Plan€14.99/monthUnlimited data, calls and textsEU roaming (all calls, texts, and 14GB data)
*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 to read the terms and conditions of your contract when getting a new SIM card. Your bill may skyrocket if you have extra usage charges or if a discount or promotion has finished in the middle of your contracts. It also fluctuates if you’ve added a service 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 these 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:
Photo: mroach, CC BY-SA 2.0