3 physical operators remain in the Republic of Ireland:
- eir (previously Meteor)
- 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 4G/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.
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.
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 top-up site. 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 - €10
- Smart Extra: 6 GB data, unlimited Vodafone calls and texts, 100 mins/SMS cross network - € 12
- Extra: 8 GB data, unlimited calls and texts, 100 mins international calls - € 15
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.
EU Roaming Edit
From 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
- APN: live.vodafone.com /or/ hs.vodafone.ie
- long TCP connections have a tendency of being dropped
- Tethering is allowed
- Website: http://www.vodafone.ie
Hutchison 3 (= Three)Edit
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. Occasionally, you will be switched to HSDPA even though 4G+ coverage is present. In that case, reconnecting to the network (e.g. by going into flight mode for a few seconds) should get you connected to 4G again.
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.
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. Additionally, it comes with 3000 on-net minutes, 3000 SMS to Ireland and the EU and € 20 credit for free use. Fol "all you can eat" a FUP of 60 GB applies in Ireland and of 6 GB roaming in the rest of the EU. For EU roaming there are unlimited texts, but calls come out of your credit limit. Overuse fee for EU roaming is at high € 1.01 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.
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 6 GB in the EU.
- "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.
- APN: 3ireland.ie
- Website: http://www.three.ie/
eir (previously meteor)Edit
Eir is Ireland's largest Telecom operator, formerly called Eircom, their mobile brand Meteor until 2017. Eir has the third-largest market share in the mobile market and its parent company has the advantage of owning a nationwide fibre backbone, enabling it to offer fast data speeds at a good coverage: Eir Coverage .
In 2013, Eir became the first operator to commercially launch LTE/4G capability in Ireland. In April 2017, Eir offers 95% LTE coverage.Ireland’s Eir Group has discontinued the ‘meteor’ brand in 2017, with all of the company’s mobile offerings to be marketed under the ‘eir’ banner from that date. Be aware, that, when searching for networks manually, the network name is often displayed as "meteor IE" but when connected, it's change to EIR. So dont get confused by the different names.
Eir offers its pay-as-you-go SIM card for free in its shops when bought with a €10 top-up (see Eir 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#.
Base plans Edit
You can opt in the following plans with monthly renewal, but don't need to:
- for € 20: with unlimited text or calls plus 15 GB data (EU cap: 5.5 GB). Activation for the call version text "20 calls and data", for the text version "20 text and data" to 50104
- for € 30: with unlimited text and calls plus 15 GB data (EU cap: 8.2 GB). Activation: "Unlimited" to 50104
Both plans come with unlimited YouTube and "Social Media". It's not specified which platforms fall into their free access over, though when looking at promotional info, they seem to be Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Data feature packsEdit
Like their competitors, they have a expensive standard rate: €1.99 per day up to 100 MB and €0.02 per MB (€20.48 per GB) thereafter.
To all of their their pay as you go SIM cards with or without base plan, you add top-up the following bundles for 28 days:
|Price||IE Data||EU cap||Activation|
|€ 4.99||500 MB||no cap||Sub Internet 500|
|€ 9.99||1 GB||no cap||Sub Internet 1GB|
|€ 15||7.5 GB||3.1 GB||data 7.5|
|€ 20||15 GB||5.5 GB||data 15|
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 Passes Edit
Eir 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|
|€ 2.99||1 GB||1 GB||1 day||1 Day|
|€ 7.99||2.5 GB||2.5 GB||7 days||7 Day|
|€ 19.99||15 GB||5.4 GB||30 days||30 Day|
|€ 29.99||50 GB||8.2 GB||30 days||30 Day Extra|
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
Eir 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: https://www.eir.ie
Tesco MobileEditTesco 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 €7.5. When purchased with €15 top-up the €7.5 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:
|€ 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. Using Tesco Mobile App, recurring 1 GB data and 5 GB data are available. 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.
- APN: tescomobile.liffeytelecom.com
- Tethering is permitted
- Website: http://www.tescomobile.ie
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:
|3 GB||€ 4.99||*139*90350#|
|5 GB||€ 6.99||*139*90500#|
|10 GB||€ 9.99||*139*91000#|
|20 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 doesn't applies 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: 25 GB IE data capped at 4.25 GB in the EU, unlimited mins and texts: € 15, activation: *139*2015#
- All in One M: 35 GB IE data capped at 5.5 GB in the EU, unlimited national mins and texts, 100 IDD mins: €20, activation: *139*2004#
- All in One L: unlimited data (60 GB at full speed, after speed may be throtted) in IE capped at 8.25 GB in the EU, unlimited national mins and texts, 100 IDD mins: €30, activation: *139*2005#.
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
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 including 250 mins, 250 texts, 7 GB data
- Talk and Text: € 20 including unlimited mins and texts
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
- APN: isp.postfone.ie
- Website: http://postmobile.ie
48 (48months.ie) Edit
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.
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: 3 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: 25 GB internet, 50 mobile minutes, 100 texts to any mobile network and the unlimited use of WhatsApp.
- The Don for €20 per month: 20 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
- APN: 48months.liffeytelecom.com
- Website: http://www.48months.ie
iD mobile (ceased operation on 23rd of April 2018) Edit
iD Mobile was an MVNO that started in the UK and spread to Ireland in 2015 using the Three network. It was owned by Carphone Warehouse and unlike other MVNOs they resold Three's 4G/LTE network too (for specifics see Three above). In 2016 they added prepay offers and Mobile Broadband plans.
On 6 March 2018 iD mobile went into liquidation due to lack of revenues, no potential investors and mounting debt. No new SIM cards are sold anymore and top-up vouchers only until March 2018. Existing customers were given 30 days, until 6 April 2018 to use up any remaining credit and transfer their number to another network provider. No refunds or credit transfers were given, with accordance to operator’s terms and conditions. Past this date no number porting to another provider will be possible anymore. As of 23rd April 2018, all SIMs have been deactivated.