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Ireland

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Basics Edit

3 physical operators remain in the Republic of Ireland:

  • Eir (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. Eircom as smallest provider now, 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 oerators, but not all resellers.

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 some 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.

Top-ups can be made by vouchers or by any internatl. credit card on their website. SIM cards need to be topped up every 180 days to maintain service or they can no longer make calls/texts. SIMs are then deactivated 2 months later.

Pay as you go Edit

Their prepaid SIMs are called pay as you go. You need to activate their Data Extra offer first by texting the activation code 'Data Extra' to 50222. Then you need to top-up 20 €. This is your base plan valid for 20 days. It contains 5 GB in 4G/LTE, unlimited VF calls and texts plus a € 10 general credit.

For more data you can buy add-ons valid for 28 days:

  • 500 MB add-on on 3G, charged at € 5 by texting '5data' to 50233
  • 3 GB add-on on 4G/LTE, charged at € 15 by texting 'DATA' to 50233

Remaining data allowances for the Data Extra plan and above data add-ons can be checked by texting "bal" to 50233

Warning: If you don't subscribe to the Data Extra plan or overuse, data will billed at € 1.99 per day for 100 MB (only the days you use data), then horrendous € 1 per MB thereafter.

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, that are open to 4G/LTE too:

  • Broadband Daily: 500 MB from midnight to midnight: € 3
  • Broadband Weekly: 2 GB for 7 days: € 10
  • Broadband Monthly: 7.5 GB for 30 days € 20

Overuse or out of bundle use will be charged with € 0.19 per MB.

SIM sizesEdit

Standard SIMs and Micro-SIMs available.

Roaming Edit

For roaming in all EU/EEA countries, Turkey, Switzerland, the US and Canada Vodafone offers their Red Roaming option. Up to 200 MB for €3 per day (€2 in the UK). For more info see Euro2.

More infoEdit

  • APN: live.vodafone.com
  • APN: hs.vodafone.ie
  • long TCP connections have a tendency of being dropped
  • ssh port is blocked, if you use the live APN
  • VoIP is actively penalised with QoS filtering to make calls impossible if you use the Mobile Broadband packages
  • Tethering is allowed
  • Website: http://www.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 won't be 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. e.

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 gives out 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz and 800 MHz in some rural areas without surcharge.

Availability and start-upEdit

SIMs can be purchased online or store locator or at outlets like Carphone Warehouse. The prepaid SIMs are free, the prepaid Broadband SIMs are € 5. Vouchers for top up are available in many stores nationwide. To check balance, dial 1745 for free.

Prepaid SIMEdit

The default pricing for data transfers is horrendous € 1.01 per MB. 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:

  • top-up of € 20: "unlimited" data allowance (= 60 GB) for 30 days. You also get unlimited domestic mobile phone calls on weekends and an allowance of 3000 SMS to domestic numbers.
  • top-up of € 10 or € 15: 200 MB data, 50 SMS to all domestic networks and 50 mins within Three for 30 days.
  • top-up of € 5: 100 MB data bonus valid for 30 days
  • for € 4.99 (of your credit balance) you can buy a once-off add-on of 500 MB data. The add-on is purchased via my3.three.ie or by dialing 1744 and picking it from the menu. Remaining data balance from this add-on can also be heard by dialing 1744.

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 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 € 0.0203 per MB.

SIM sizesEdit

Standard SIMs, Micro-SIMs and Nano-SIMs for Prepay. Standard and micro SIMs only for Prepay Broadband.

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.

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)
  • Skype may be filtered in some cases. Currently, it is free with the Three mobile Skype app on a compatible phone.

Meteor (by eir)Edit

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

Eircom was the first operator to commercially launch LTE/4G in Ireland in September 2013 and covers 81% of population in 2016.

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. Minimum top-up is € 5. Top-ip 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 internatl. credit/debit card or vouchers sold at 7000 outlets in the country. Check balance by *#100#.

Data feature packsEdit

On your pay as you go SIM card, you can top up the following bundles:

Price Volume Speed Text to 50104 for activation
Monthly add-ons with data:
€ 4.99 500 MB 2G, 3G Sub Internet 500
€ 9.99 1 GB 2G, 3G Sub internet 1GB
€ 10 7.5 GB 2G, 3G 10 data
€ 20 15 GB 2G, 3G, 4G 20 calls and data

For more data within your running month, you can add two boosters valid for 30 days:

  • 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 Volume Time Activation
€ 19.99 15 GB 30 days 30 Day
€ 30 30 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.

WIFI add-onEdit

An interesting bonus with Meteor (and eMobile), is that they give free access to the nationwide network of WiFi hotspots operated by their parent company Eircom. These hotspots are located in many public locations throughout the country such as Dublin Airport, cafes, hotels etc. Most of these hotspots (Dublin Airport excepted) are paid access only.You can browse an interactive map of the hotspots on their website. There is no limit on the amount of data downloaded on Eircom WiFi, so it is a good way of saving your mobile data allowance when you need to do the odd large download. To register, text "wifi" to 50003.

EU roaming Edit

For roaming in all EU/EEA countries Meteor offers a 1 GB bundle for € 14.99 valid for 30 days. To activate, text 'Data EU' to 50104 or online on your MyMeteor account. For more details check Euro6.

More info Edit

  • standard and micro size SIMs are available
  • tethering is supported
  • VoIP works on Meteor
  • APN: data.mymeteor.ie
  • Website: http://www.meteor.ie

Tesco MobileEdit

Tesco
Tesco Mobile is the MVNO of the leading cash & carry retailer in the country. It used to operate on O2 and migrated to the Three network on 3G only. It has the highest market share of an MVNO in the country with 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. A € 15 top-up provides as a bonus:

  • 10 GB 3G data for 30 days
  • 400 domestic minutes per day for 30 days
  • and still keep your full top-up balance

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
€ 5.00 1 GB 30 days Text "Data" to 174211
€ 10.00 5 GB 30 days Text "Data" to 174212

These bundles don't renew themselves, you have to book them again after expiration.

SIM sizesEdit

Standard, micro and nano SIM

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 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 €0 preloaded SIM in standard and micro 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.

All calls amongst Lycamobile customers are free.

Data feature packages Edit

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:

  • 5 GB: € 4.99, activation: *139*90350#
  • 10 GB: € 6.99, activation: *139*90500#
  • 20 GB: € 9.99, activation: *139*91000#
  • 30 GB: € 13, activation: *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 *147#

EU Roaming Edit

Data use abroad requires purchase of a roaming bundle. For more info see Euro5.

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 are blocked
  • 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

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

  • Data Value: € 20 including 10 GB data, € 10 general credit and free internal Post Mobile calls and texts valid for 30 days
  • All In Extra: € 20 including 300 domestic mins, 300 domestic texts, 10 GB data, € 5 general credit and free internal Post Mobile calls and texts valid for 30 days

More info Edit

iD mobile Edit

Id mobile

iD Mobile is a 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 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, 300 domestic mins, unlimited iD mobile mins and SMS, € 15
  • top-up of € 20: 30 GB, 300 domestic mins, unlimited iD mobile mins and SMS, € 20
  • top-up of € 30: 30 GB, 300 domestic mins, unlimited iD mobile mins and SMS, € 30

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

Mobile Broadband plans Edit

In 2016 iD Mobile added prepaid Mobile Broadband plans with data-only to be used in a tablet or modem that are the cheapest in the country. These prepay plans are offered valid for 30 days:

  • 25 GB: € 15
  • 40 GB: € 25
  • 60 GB: € 30

Outside of bundle use or overuse is on Mobile Broadband plans for € 0.02 per MB.

More info Edit

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