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Basics Edit

3 physical operators remain in the Republic of Ireland:

  • eir (previously Meteor and eMobile)
  • Vodafone (Ireland)
  • Hutchison 3 (= Three)

O2 in Ireland was acquired by Hutchison Whampoa (Three) in 2014 and previous O2 customers have been transfered to the Three brand in 2015 while the networks haven't been fully merged yet.

Vodafone is still market leader by subscribers, Three has improved its network because of the ongoing merger with O2 and is closing the gap on Vodafone. eir, former Eircom, still offers a very good coverage and speed throughout the country under the Meteor and eMobile brands.

Eir/Meteor was the first to offer LTE in 2013 on 800 and 1800 Mhz, Vodafone started shortly afterwards. Three started its LTE network on 1800 Mhz in 2014, but still has a more limited coverage in populated areas. LTE on prepaid is given out on all network operators, but not all resellers yet.

EU flag
Ireland is part of the EU, where from June 2017 new international roaming rules are enforced. In most European countries you can now 'roam like at home' at domestic rates rather than excessive roaming rates. Irish operators have applied the principle, but may cap some larger data packages for roaming. For specifics about the new regulation check European Union chapter and every provider below.

Vodafone Edit

Vodafone

Vodafone has the most subscribers in the country and a good coverage and speed on 2G, 3G and 4G: Vodafone Coverage. Vodafone covers 90% with LTE in 2015 and is available for postpaid (= bill pay) and prepaid (= pay as you go) plans.

Availability and start-upEdit

The pay-as-you-go SIM can be purchased at their stores (store locator) and other agents like Carphone Warehouse for €10, if you need a new number. All three SIM sizes are available.

Top-ups can be made by vouchers or by any international credit card on their website. When you top-up or activate, you can make calls for 6 months and receive calls for 8 months. After 8 months your call credit and your SIM will expire. Check balance by *174#.

Pay as you go Edit

Their prepaid SIMs are called pay-as-you-go and you can join one of their 3 base plans valid for 28 days:

  • Chat Extra: 1 GB data, unlimited calls - € 20
  • Smart Extra: 6 GB data, unlimited Vodafone calls and texts, 100 mins/SMS cross network - € 20
  • Extra: 8 GB data, unlimited calls and texts, 100 mins international calls - € 30

To join a plan first text plan name to 50222 and after confirmation top-up €20 or €30 for 28 days. Default rate is €1.99 for 100 MB and €0.01 per MB beyond.

For their new extra plans they offer Data Rollover. This means that you can keep any unused data from the previous month, provided you re-activate your top-up offer by topping up on or before day 28. The max. amount you can rollover is whatever you have remaining in your plan.

For more data you can add these add-ons:

  • 1 GB for 28 days: € 5, text '5DATA' to 50233
  • 5 GB for 30 days: € 15, text 'DATA' to 50233

Note, that volumes from these add-ons can't be rolled over.

Check data balance by texting BAL to 50233 or in their app.

Mobile Broadband Pay as you go Edit

Vodafone also sells data-only prepaid SIMs, which are managed online, where you can buy the following packages:

  • Broadband Daily: 500 MB from midnight to midnight - € 3
  • Broadband Weekly: 2 GB for 7 days - € 10
  • Broadband Monthly: 7.5 GB for 28 days - € 20

Overuse or out of bundle use will be charged with €0.19 per MB. There is no rollover on broadband plans.

Roaming Edit

From June 2017 you can use any mobile plan in the EU just like you would at home for no extra cost. Vodafone has implemented 'roam like at home' rules without any volume restrictions. For roaming out of the EU/EEA zone their old RED roaming plans apply:

  • 200 MB per calendar day for 2.99 € in Albania, Canada, Monaco, San Marino, Kosovo, Turkey, USA
  • 200 MB per calendar day for 4.99 € in 50 countries mentioned here

More infoEdit

  • APN: live.vodafone.com /or/ hs.vodafone.ie

Hutchison 3  (= Three)Edit

3-brand

After the acquisition of O2 by Three, Hutchison merged the two brands in March 2015. This has been largely a re-branding exercise and the networks are still not fully united for the time being.

Customers of both networks have been experiencing some problems during the merger as it requires Three to built some new base stations and all the associated back-haul capacity while they will also consolidate some of their existing sites.

3G coverage can be very good in very isolated and remote areas due to the (now defunct) NBS government subsidy to help serve these areas, but this coverage is in 3G only on 2100 MHz which gives poor indoor coverage: Three's 3G/4G Coverage Map. Three operates 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz and 800 MHz in some rural areas without any surcharge.

Availability and start-upEdit

SIM cards can be purchased online, in their stores (locator) or at outlets like Carphone Warehouse. The prepaid SIMs are free or 20€ with the same amount of credit, the prepaid Broadband SIMs are for € 5. Standard, micro and nano-SIMs are available for PAYG, standard and micro SIMs only for Prepay Broadband. When buying the 20€ prepaid sim, it should activate after about 15 minutes after putting it into the phone, but it can also take up to a few hours in some cases.

Vouchers for top-ups are available in many stores nationwide. Have in mind that Three only accepts Irish- and UK-issued credit cards for top-ups online. As they are hardly any agencies to top-up Irish SIM cards, without vouchers available, it can be tricky to maintain a SIM from abroad.

To check the balance, dial 1745 for free.

Every Three SIM card comes with a content lock activated similar to the UK. This filter blacks out all adult contents and sometimes even more. You can have it removed in the store at purchase (while some shops might not do this) or by sending an email to Three customer service with a scan of your ID document and the following reference <your phone no.> - Remove Adult Filter". Removing the adult filter via email support can take up to 5 days or use a VPN app just in case.

Prepaid SIMEdit

The default pricing for data transfers is horrendous € 1.01 per MB in Ireland and the EU. The SIM remains active while some kind of chargeable call or SMS (i.e. not part of any bundle or allowance) or a new top-up is made every 6 months. Take care of the tethering restrictions mentioned below. Three gives out allowances for top-ups as a bonus, not debited from your loaded credit.

The free base plan with this excessive default rate can be added by the only package for data:

  • 500 MB for 30 days: € 4.99

Otherwise, Three offers an All You can Eat monthly plan:

  • for a top-up of € 20 valid for 28 days "all you can eat" data is given out. In Ireland a FUP of 60 GB applies. In the rest of the EU for roaming only 5 GB are given out, there are unlimited texts, but calls come out of your credit limit. Overuse fee for EU roaming is at high € 0.92 per MB. Free Deezer Premium is added in Ireland for 3 months.

Prepaid Broadband SIMEdit

This SIM is data-only and is not always good-value, as the normal prepaid SIM is free and a € 20 top-up includes a data allowance of 60 GB (see above), but it can be the smarter choice if you want to tether or use it out of your phone (see below). The Prepaid Broadband SIM is sold at € 5 and can be loaded with these bundles:

Data package Price 3G Volume Period
Broadband Day € 3 500 MB 1 day
Broadband Week € 10 2 GB 7 days
Broadband Month 1GB € 15 1 GB 30 days
Broadband Month 7.5GB € 25 7.5 GB 30 days
Broadband Month 20GB € 35 20 GB 30 days

Out of bundle data are charged with 6.15c per MB in Ireland and the EU. For more data you can buy an add-on of 5 GB for € 7.50 per month. All allowances are valid in Ireland and all over the EU.

Tethering Edit

Three Ireland bans tethering on their smartphone prepaid SIM. There are reports that they suspend the "all you can eat data" bundle, when they detect a non-smartphone use or any tethering from a phone. If you want to tether data or use it not in a phone, better choose their Prepaid Broadband SIM instead.

EU roaming Edit

You can get their "roam like home" EU rates on PAYG in the 28 countries of the EU/EEA plus Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland and San Marino. Most allowances are given out at the domestic rate, only the AllYouCanEat package for €20 is capped at 5 GB in the EU.

More infoEdit

  • "Unlimited" means a 60 GB FUP. If you exceed this, your data-speed may be throttled.
  • Prepaid SIMs are opted into Three's Adult Content filter by default
  • Broadband micro-SIM does not support personal hotspot on iPads (3 or 4)
  • VoIP apps like Skype may be filtered out in some cases. Currently, it's free with the Three mobile Skype app on a compatible phone.

eir (previously meteor)Edit

Eir

new eir logo

Meteor is the mobile brand provided by Ireland's largest Telecom operator eir, formerly called Eircom. Eir has the third-largest market share and its parent has the advantage of owning a nationwide fibre backbone, enabling it to offer fast data speeds at a good coverage: Meteor Coverage .

In 2013, eir became the first operator to commercially launch LTE/4G capability in Ireland. In April 2017, eir offers 95% LTE coverage.

Meteor

old meteor logo

Ireland’s Eir Group is set to discontinue the ‘meteor’ brand by September 2017, with all of the company’s mobile offerings to be marketed under the ‘eir’ banner from that date. All of their retail outlets will become ‘eir’ stores bearing their new logo. Please be aware, that, when searching for networks manually, the network name is still displayed as "meteor IE" but when connected, its displayed as EIR so dont get confused by the different names.

Availability and start-upEdit

Meteor offers its pay-as-you-go SIM card for free in its shops when bought with a €10 top-up (see Meteor store locator) and other outlets. Standard, micro and nano size SIMs are available.

Minimum top-up is €5. Top-up vouchers are widely available nationwide. 4G is available on prepay, but the minimum cost is a €20 top-up per month bundle which also includes free calls or texts.

SIM cards must be topped up every 150 days to maintain service for outbound calls and texts. They will be deactivated 30 days later. You can top-up online €5-60 using any international credit/debit card or vouchers sold at 7000 outlets in the country. Check balance by *#100#.

Data feature packsEdit

Like their competitors they have a expensive standard rate: €1.99 per day up to 100 MB and €0.99 per MB thereafter. On their pay as you go SIM card, you can top-up the following bundles for 28 days:

Price IE Data EU cap Extras Speed Activation
€ 4.99 500 MB no cap 2G, 3G Sub Internet 500
€ 9.99 1 GB no cap 2G, 3G Sub Internet 1GB
€ 15 7.5 GB 3.1 GB 2G, 3G data 7.5
€ 20 15 GB 4.2 GB calls 2G, 3G, 4G 20 calls and data
€ 30 15 GB 6.3 GB calls & texts 2G, 3G, 4G 30 unlimited

To activate, text code to 50104. For more data within your running month, you can add two boosters valid for 30 days (no EU cap):

  • 500 MB: € 4.99, activation: Booster500
  • 1 GB: € 9.99, activation: Booster1

Mobile Broadband SIM Edit

Meteor sells Mobile Broadband SIM cards with data only for tablets at €1 in their stores. On their data-only SIM, these Mobile Broadband Passes can be added in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

Price IE Data EU cap Validity Activation
€ 19.99 15 GB 4.2 GB 30 days 30 Day
€ 30 50 GB 6.3 GB 180 days 180 Day

For activation, text code to 50104. Note the expensive € 0.99 per MB, if you go over your allowance. The Mobile Broadband Passes require a different data-only SIM card and can't be mixed with the other internet add-ons in the table above.

EU roaming Edit

Meteor caps all larger data bundles in EU roaming, but generally applies "Roam like at home" rules for roaming in the EU/EEA.

More info Edit

  • Tethering is supported
  • VoIP works on Meteor
  • APN: data.mymeteor.ie
  • APN for broadband SIMs: broadband.mymeteor.ie
  • Website: http://www.meteor.ie

Tesco MobileEdit

Tesco
Tesco Mobile is the MVNO of the leading retailer in the country. It used to operate on O2 and migrated to the Three network on 3G only, no 4G yet. It's the most popular MVNO in the country with a market share of about 6%.

Availability and start-upEdit

The SIM card can be bought online or offline at any Tesco outlet (Tesco store locator) especially these with a phone shop attached for €5. When purchased with €15 top-up the €5 cost of SIM is discounted giving effectively a starter SIM €15 with €15 credit.

All new customers are initially signed up to the basic plan. For a monthly minimum top-up of €10 you receive standard call rates, and free texts and calls amongst Tesco Mobile. When a top up of €15 is applied, unlimited free calls to all networks are enabled for 30 days, 10GB 3G data and you keep your call credit. Tesco Mobile is one of the cheapest option for international calls when visiting Ireland.

Top up vouchers can be found at Tesco, Payzone, Paypoint, Postpoint and other stores for €5, €10, €15, €20, €25 or €30. Check balance check by *100#.

Simple plan offer Edit

New prepaid users are opted in to the "Simple" offer by default. As a bonus, a €15 top-up provides:

  • 10 GB 3G data for 30 days (capped at 3.17 GB in EU roaming)
  • 400 domestic minutes per day for 30 days
  • and still keep your full top-up balance of €15

Switching to this plan for existing users: text "Join Simple" to 1744. To activate the plan, top-up by €15 or more in one go.

Data feature packsEdit

The default pricing for data transfers is a low € 0.02 per MB. The following bundles can be booked:

Price Volume Period Activation
€ 0.79 50 MB 1 day Text "Data" to 174209
€ 2.99 350 MB 7 days Text "Data" to 174210
€ 5 1 GB 30 days Text "Data" to 174211
€ 10 5 GB 30 days Text "Data" to 174212

These bundles don't renew themselves, you have to book them again after expiration. No caps for EU roaming are applied.

EU roaming Edit

From June 2017 you can use Tesco Mobile Prepay within the EU just like you would at home in Ireland. This means that if you’re travelling within the EU and want to call/text another EU country or use data you’ll pay the same price as you would at home in Ireland. A FUP for data applies for some Prepay plans.

All existing customers as at 15th of June 2017 are eligible to receive Tesco Mobile’s new EU roaming rates. Customers that join Tesco Mobile after the 15th of June 2017 will need to pass a basic customer authenticity check before being eligible to use their allowances while roaming in the EU. To pass an authenticity check all a customer needs to do is sign into my.tescomobile.ie or register a Tesco Clubcard to Tesco Mobile account. Not having one of these, roaming may be declined in the future.

More infoEdit

Lycamobile Edit

Lycamobile

The leading UK ethno provider started in Ireland in 2012. It has good coverage and speeds in 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE yet, using the Three network.

Availability and start-up Edit

As usual, their SIM card is free. It can be ordered online to be sent to an Irish postal address (hotel addresses are accepted). Or you can buy it in selected retailers: Centra, Spar, Supervalu, MACE, Costcutter, Londis, Gala, Eason. Please note that availability varies greatly. SIM packs come in many different configurations - some are free without credit, some come are paid for with preloaded credit, and some stores sell free SIMs for a fee without free credit. The front of the SIM pack shows the preloaded credit value, and lists the break-out size of SIM inside. Standard, micro and nano SIMs are available from their website. Larger Easons stores stock the free SIM in standard and micro sizes only, but charge a €0.50 surcharge for purchasing a top-up.

You can top-up online using credit or debit card or using vouchers sold through PayPoint or Payzone retailers (= most convenience stores in Ireland). Scratch card vouchers start at €5. To enter type *131*<voucher code>#. Check balance by *131#. There must be a billable charge on the SIM every 90 days to keep it active and all call credit now expires 90 days after it was topped up.

Data feature packages Edit

The default rate for data outside of package is € 0.09 per MB. Lycamobile sells monthly data packs valid for 30 days, which change quite often for data valid only in Ireland, not in the EU:

IE Data Price Activation
5 GB € 4.99 *139*90350#
10 GB € 6.99 *139*90500#
20 GB € 9.99 *139*91000#
30 GB € 13 *139*95000#

All packages auto-renew if there is enough credit. To stop, type *190# at least one day before the old bundle expires. For extra data, they offer a bolt-ons provided one of the above has already been purchased, valid for the rest period of the base package:

  • 500 MB: € 2, activation: *139*601#
  • 1 GB: € 3, activation: *139*602#

Data usage can be checked by dialing *137# for data add-ons, and *147# for inclusive data.

EU roaming Edit

Lycamobile seems to be unwilling to apply roam like at home rules to their data packages that remain valid only domestic. EU roaming stays on the default rate of €0.09 per MB only. They have now released two bundles with a limited EU roaming data allowance included:

  • National S: 1 GB data, 300 mins, 300 SMS - € 9, activation: *139*2001#
  • Ireland Plus: 15 GB IE data capped at 3.5 GB in the EU, unlimited mins and texts: € 15, activation: *139*2015#

More info Edit

  • APN: data.lycamobile.ie
  • Username: lmie (that's lowercase L, not capital i)
  • Password: plus
  • Lycamobile is known to block tethering and WiFi hotspots
  • Website: http://www.lycamobile.ie

Post Mobile (formerly Postfone) Edit

Post mobile

An Post, the Irish postal system, launched Postfone as MVNO on the Vodafone network in 2010. In 2015 it was rebranded to Post Mobile and data services were added.

Vodafone has one the best coverages in the country in 2G and 3G, but Post Mobile customers don't have access to 4G/LTE for now (coverage map).

Availability and start-up Edit

An Post (= Irish Mail) has the largest retail network in Ireland. The SIM card is sold at their branches (locator) all over the country for free, but you have to subscribe to one of their plans (see below).

You can top-up online or by vouchers from retailers displaying the Postpoint and Payzone signs. These retailers include Londis, Centra, Spar, Mace and Gala. Then you simply dial 1747 and follow the prompts to put in your credit. Check balance by *200#.

Data feature packages Edit

The default rate for data outside of packages is 16c per MB. For the data they offer 2 monthly plans:

  • Free Data: € 20 including 10 GB data as bonus, € 20 general credit
  • All In 20: € 20 including 250 mins, 250 texts, 5 GB data
  • All in 30: € 30 including 300 mins, 300 texts, 10 GB data

EU roaming Edit

Effective June 2017 Postmobile customers are able to use their allowance of data, calls and texts at no extra cost. It’s also free to receive calls and texts from the Republic of Ireland when you are travelling in Europe. Calls, texts and data add-on’s will also work like at home when travelling in Europe.

Out-of-bundle calls, texts or data usage will be charged as per their standard home out-of-bundle rates. "Europe" consists of the EU, EEA, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

More info Edit

iD mobile Edit

Id mobile

iD Mobile is an MVNO that has started in the UK and spread to Ireland in 2015 using the Three network. It's owned by Carphone Warehouse and unlike other MVNOs they resell Three's 4G/LTE network too (for specifics see Three above). In 2016 they added prepay offers and Mobile Broadband plans.

Availability Edit

An iD Mobile prepaid SIM card can be bought through their website to be sent to an Irish postal address. You can also get them at any Carphone Warehouse store in Ireland (locator). Their SIM is free for the price, but a first top-up is required.

Top-ups can be made online on your account starting from € 5 using an international Visa or MasterCards. In their stores, they sell vouchers from € 5-50. These are also available in 4,500 branches of Centra, Mace, Applegreen, Topaz and Spar markets. To top-up by voucher, enter *101*<voucher code>#. If you don't top-up credit or make a chargeable use of your SIM for a period of 6 months, your SIM card may be suspended.

Voice and data rates Edit

Their default rate for data is € 0.10 per MB. Bundles are given out as bonuses for top-ups. This means that you will receive data, voice and text allowance for 30 days plus the topped up credit:

  • Top-up of € 15: 30 GB (3.3 GB in the EU), 300 mins, unlimited on-net mins and SMS, € 15 airtime
  • Top-up of € 20: 30 GB (3.3 GB in the EU), 300 mins, unlimited on-net mins and SMS, € 20 airtime
  • Top-up of € 30: 30 GB (3.3 GB in the EU), 300 mins, unlimited on-net mins and SMS, € 30 airtime

For all overuse, the default data rate applies. No other packages are offered.

EU roaming Edit

When you top-up by € 15 or more your bundle allowances are available to use in Ireland and when roaming throughout the EU. But you can only use 3.3 GB of your 30 GB data allowance in the EU. An out of plan charge 9.47c per MB if you go outside your EU roaming data allowance until your full domestic bundle of 30 GB expires, but if the plan has already expired 10c per MB are charged.

More info Edit

48 (48months.ie) Edit

Logo-1501745397

48 is Ireland's first online youth mobile network. This MVNO operates on the Three network in 2G and 3G, without 4G/LTE. Its business model is very similar to Giffgaff carrier in the UK. Officially they allow to register 18-22 year olds only; but in practice anyone can register their SIM card.

Availability Edit

SIM cards can be shipped to any Irish postal address ordered via their website or can sometimes be obtained in Dublin's venues at promotions. Note, that this SIM is generally not distributed through stores. The SIM is free and no minimal order is required. That's why it's listed on this Wiki instead of other online-only operators being banned. However, they don't offer pay-as-you-go rates and you need to buy a 'membership plan' in order to use it after having activated the SIM online.

You can top-up your account from €1 and then buy a membership plan or buy a membership plan straight ahead by credit card. Also you can buy a top-up voucher in shop with Payzone sign and at Omnivend vending machines across Ireland. To apply a voucher to your account dial *101*<voucher PIN> # on your phone. Credit or debit cards are accepted and international cards are supported up to €20 for one top-up.

The SIM card may expire after 6 month period if you don't make a chargeable action or buy a membership plan, but often they don't disconnect their SIM cards at all.

Voice and data plans Edit

There are 3 so-called 'membership' plans available for new customers:

  • The Guido for €10 per month: 1 GB internet, 60 landline minutes, 300 mobile minutes, 5000 texts to any mobile network and the unlimited use of WhatsApp.
  • The Mitch for €15 per month: 15 GB internet, 50 mobile minutes, 100 texts to any mobile network and the unlimited use of WhatsApp.
  • The Don for €20 per month: 8 GB internet, 60 landline minutes, 1000 mobile minutes, 5000 texts to any mobile network and the unlimited use of WhatsApp.

The unlimited use of WhatsApp only applies to messenging, not to VoIP or video calls. You can extend your plan by add-ons: 1 GB internet extra for €3 valid as long as the current membership plan is running.

EU roaming Edit

The only way to use 48's SIM card in the EU/EEA is to buy the Guido plan. Data roaming is included in EU/EEA, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in the Guido plan, on other plans it's disabled and doesn't work at all.

More info Edit

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