Three physical operators remain in the Republic of Ireland:
- Vodafone (Ireland)
- Hutchison 3 (= Three)
- eir (previously Meteor)
O2 in Ireland was acquired by Hutchison Whampoa (Three) in 2014 and previous O2 customers have been transferred 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 to Vodafone. eir, formerly called Eircom, still offers a very good coverage and speed throughout the country through its mobile network previously called Meteor and eMobile.
4G/LTE is on 800 MHz (B20) and 1800 MHz (B3). Eir was the first to offer 4G/LTE in 2013 to be followed by Vodafone Three started its LTE network in 2014. According to OpenSignal in 2020 all three carriers have a similar coverage at 70%, while Vodafone has the fastest speeds. 5G started in 2019 on eir and Vodafone on n78 (3500 MHz) in very limited areas, but so far not available on prepay plans.
Like in the UK, prepaid SIM cards are often called Pay as you go and available without registration.
Although Northern Ireland is part of the UK, ringing Northern Irish landlines from the Republic of Ireland may also be done by replacing the "02890" portion of the Northern Irish number with "04890". This way, one will be charged as if they have made a domestic call.
Vodafone has the most subscribers in the country with a good coverage and speeds on 2G, 3G and 4G: Vodafone Coverage. Vodafone claims to cover 99% of the population by 4G/LTE in 2020. 5G has started in 2019 on n78, but is not yet available for prepaid.
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 three base plans all valid for 28 days:
- Chat Extra including 10 GB data, unlimited calls and texts: €20
- Smart Extra including 20 GB data, unlimited Vodafone calls and texts, 100 mins/SMS cross network: €20
- Extra including 30 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. Check exceptions for roaming and tethering below. All of those plans include Vodafones "data rollover", meaning unused data will be added to next months allowance.
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 Mobile Broadband SIMs which gives you 20 GB of data for 28 days. It costs €20 and is charged after topping up by €20.
- To opt in to this plan, text 'MBB' to 50222, then top-up by €20
Overuse or out of bundle use will be charged with €0.19 per MB. There is no roll-over on broadband plans.
Vodafone X Edit
Similar to Voxi in the UK, Vodafone X is their youth plan aimed at users 18-25 years of age. But online you only need to enter any age in this group and elegibility is normally not checked. Even some Vodafone retailers activate this plan for you, when you don't look that young anymore. All exisiting or new PAYG SIM cards can be transferred to X. Before you top-up €20, text activation code to 50222 and wait for confirmation.
They offer this "unlimited" plan valid for 28 days for a €20 top-up:
- unlimited data at max. 10 Mbps, unlimited SMS and unlimited calls Friday 3pm - Sunday midnight, 100 mins at other times. Activation: UNLIMITED
Note that you can't roll over unused data like in their PAYG plans and voice on weekdays is expensive beyond the 100 mins allowance.
Mobile hotspot data are only included in their plans when live.vodafone.com APN is selected, as stated in their T&Cs. Some phones will switch to hs.vodafone.com APN automatically instead, which will be charged at standard rates (€0.19 per MB). Vodafone support doesn't say whether on-plan tethering is supported or not, but will reiterate the APN restrictions. Affected Android users may be able to enable tethering by disabling the dial-up networking emulation
International Roaming Edit
You can use any plan (even Vodafone X) 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, and additionally, includes Switzerland in their EU/EEA/UK zone. For roaming outside their EU 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 (see exception for the "Extra" plan)
- Website: http://www.vodafone.ie
Hutchison 3 (= Three)Edit
After the acquisition of O2 by Three, Hutchison merged the two brands in 2015. This has been largely a re-branding exercise and the networks have been fully united in the following years.
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 (B3) and 800 MHz (B20) in some rural areas. 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. Three claims to cover 97% of the population by 4G in 2020.
SIM cards can be purchased online, as either their prepay sim or mobile broadband sim 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 €30. 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 there 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 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 offers these 3 prepaid plans valid for 28 days:
- 3 Pay 15: unlimited domestic calls, 60 texts and 1 GB of data (in IE and EU): €15
- 3 Pay 20: unlimited on-net calls, 60 mins domestic calls, "unlimited" texts and data* (10 GB EU roaming): €20 - discounted to €10 until October 2020.
- 3 Pay 30: unlimited domestic calls and texts, 30 mins international calls and "unlimited" data* (14 GB EU roaming)
(*) = FUP of 60 GB applied, if excessive behaviour is detected in Ireland.
For additional data you can add 1 GB for €5 to the smallest plan.
Prepaid Broadband SIMEdit
This SIM is data-only and is not always good-value, as it includes a €30 top-up with a data allowance of 30 GB for 28 days. Out of bundle data are charged with 6.15c per MB in Ireland and the EU. All allowances are valid in Ireland and all over the EU and UK.
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/UK. Most allowances are given out at the domestic rate, only Three's "unlimited" plans are limited abroad.
- "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, a trading name of Eircom, is Ireland's largest Telecom operator. Its mobile brand was 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 2020 Eir claims 98% coverage and 99% of the population by LTE. 5G started in 2019 and has spread to 19 towns so far. It's on n78 and not yet available to prepaid.
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 don't get confused by the different names.
Some eir stores currently have a policy in place where people traveling from abroad are not allowed to enter store locations due to Covid-19.
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/LTE 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
Their plans come "unlimited" with a FUP of 80 GB data to use within Ireland marketed as "No Limits Data" where usage beyond 80 GB is not charged for, but may be speed or service restricted until the end of the billing cycle. You can opt in the following plans with renewal after 28 days, but don't need to:
- for €20: with unlimited text or calls plus 80 GB data (EU cap: 9.3 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 80 GB data (EU cap: 14 GB). Activation: "Unlimited" to 50104
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 the following bundles for 28 days:
|Price||IE Data||EU cap||Activation||Deactivation|
|€4.99||500 MB||no cap||sub Internet 500||out Internet 500|
|€9.99||1 GB||no cap||sub Internet 1GB||out Internet 1GB|
|€15||7.5 GB||7 GB||data 7.5||stop data 7.5|
|€20||15 GB||9.3 GB||data 15||stop 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
EU roaming Edit
Eir caps all larger data bundles in EU and UK roaming, but generally applies "Roam like at home" rules for roaming in EU/EEA/UK.
In 2019 Eir started its budget brand GoMo. We don't mention GoMo here in detail, because it needs to be ordered online and sent to an Irish postal address only which is inconvenient for travellers. But if you have a local address or stay for longer, it may be an option as it's currently the price breaker in the country.
They have only one plan which is a rolling prepaid contract that can be discountinued anytime. It includes unlimited data and max. 10 GB in the EU and UK, unlimited domestic, EU and UK voice and texts at €12.99 plus an initial set-up charge of €10. For more information check: https://gomo.ie/
More info Edit
- Tethering is supported
- VoIP works on Eir
- APN: data.myeirmobile.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,
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 €10. When purchased with €15 top-up the €10 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, 10 GB 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 "Prepay 15" offer by default. As a bonus, a €15 top-up provides for 28 days:
- 15 GB data (capped at 7 GB in EU roaming), unlimited (FUP: 10,000 mins) domestic minutes for 28 days, unlimited (FUP: 3,000 SMS) on-net texts and the €15 credit on your account for extra volumes.
Switching to this plan for existing users: text "Join Prepay 15" 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||Data||Period||Activation by SMS|
|€0.79||50 MB||1 day||"Data" to 174209|
|€2.99||350 MB||7 days||"Data" to 174210|
|€5||1 GB||28 days||"Data" to 174211|
|€10||5 GB||28 days||"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 2017 you can use Tesco Mobile Prepay within the EU and UK just like you would at home in Ireland. This means that if you’re travelling within the EU and UK, you’ll pay the same price as you would at home in Ireland. A FUP of 7 GB applies for the €15 plan.
- 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, 3G and 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 SIM in standard and micro sizes only, but charge a €0.50 surcharge for purchasing a top-up. Lycamobile will send you a text with your phone number after putting it into a phone for the first time. You can also check your number with *132#.
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 and partly in the EU:
|IE Data||EU Data||Price||Activation|
|3 GB||2.5 GB||€4.99||*139*90350#|
|5 GB||3.5 GB||€6.99||*139*90500#|
|10 GB||5 GB||€9.99||*139*91000#|
|20 GB||6.5 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#
These combo packages are offered:
- National S: 1 GB data, 300 mins, 300 SMS - €9, activation: *139*2001#
- Ireland Plus: 25 GB IE data capped at 7 GB in the EU, unlimited mins and texts: €15, activation: *139*2015#
- All in One M: 35 GB IE data capped at 9.5 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 14 GB in the EU, unlimited national mins and texts, 100 IDD mins: €30, activation: *139*2005#.
Data usage can be checked by dialing *137# for data add-ons, and *147# for inclusive data.
As of July 2019 Lycamobile intercepts web browsing to inject ads into unencrypted HTTP web traffic, and additional measures that captures your browsing before redirecting to the HTTPS version of a site. This may temporarily break some apps and downloads unless you use a VPN.
EU roaming Edit
Lycamobile applies roam like at home rules to their data and combo packages up to the specified limit. All other EU/EEA/UK roaming is on the default rate of €0.09 per MB.
More info Edit
- APN: data.lycamobile.ie
- Username: lmie (that's lowercase L, not capital i)
- Password: plus
- by default, some Android Phones configure the APN wrongly leaving Username & Password blank when activating the Sim
- 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, 3G and 4G/LTE.
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 data they offer:
- ‘ALL YOU NEED’ PREPAY SIM: unlimited minutes and texts, 16 GB data, €5 credit - for a €20 top up
EU roaming Edit
Effective 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, UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
More info Edit
- APN: isp.postfone.ie
- Website: https://www.anpost.com/Mobile
48 (48.ie) Edit
48 is Ireland's first online youth mobile network. This MVNO operates on the Three network in 2G, 3G and since its relaunch also in 4G/LTE (only for new customers). Its business model is very similar to giffgaff in the UK.
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 and can be unpractical for visitors. 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 activity, but often they don't disconnect their SIM cards at all.
Voice and data plans Edit
There are 2 'membership' plans available for new customers (4G/LTE included):
- €10 per month: 20 GB data (7 GB EU roaming), 300 domestic minutes, unlimited texts to any Irish mobile network.
- €15 per month: 40 GB data (9 GB EU roaming), 300 domestic minutes, unlimited texts to any Irish mobile network.
EU roaming Edit
An EU/EEA/UK roaming allowance is included up to the specified FUP above.
More info Edit
- APN: 48months.liffeytelecom.com
- Website: https://48.ie/