Best Mobile Network in Ireland: Guide

There’s nothing pleasant about holding your phone up high while desperately searching for a network. If you’re planning to visit or move to Ireland, finding the best mobile network to suit your needs is crucial.

Vodafone, Three, and Eir are the leading network operators with 99% 4G coverage in Ireland. This is because they build and own their physical mobile phone infrastructure. Other mobile virtual network operators run their services using the leading operators’ main networks.

When searching for a mobile network provider, consider their coverage in your location, pricing, and speeds. This guide will provide you with the necessary information when looking for the best mobile network provider in Ireland. If you are looking for an affordable SIM car while in Ireland, check out SimOptions.

Best mobile network providers In Ireland

Ireland has three mobile network operators that own the central telecommunications infrastructure:

  • eir
  • Three
  • Vodafone

However, five other virtual mobile network operators (MVNOs) run off these networks and provide additional benefits, such as low rates. Besides, you can get the same coverage from these MVNOs as the operating network offers.

Hence, it makes sense to look at the deals they offer. These network providers include:

1. Vodafone

Vodafone is an international provider and the largest & most advanced network in Ireland, offering free 4G roaming. Their coverage is the most reliable, especially when you move toward rural areas or travel abroad.

Features

  • 4G LTE coverage
  • Has unlimited data
  • Online billing
  • Vodafone Family plan

Perks

  • Vodafone’s 4G and 5G plans have unlimited data with no hidden caps or fair usage policy, which is excellent, especially for heavy data users.
  • You can log in on the My Vodafone app or online and pay bills, buy add-ons or check your data usage easily.
  • The Vodafone Red Family is a multi-mobile package that saves you money once connected to three or more bill pay plans, to a maximum of six. You get to save 20 EUR on each extra plan added.
  • Vodafone’s 4G and 5G plans have unlimited data with no hidden caps or fair usage policy, which is excellent, especially for heavy data users.
  • You can log in on the My Vodafone app or online and pay bills, buy add-ons or check your data usage easily.
  • The Vodafone Red Family is a multi-mobile package that saves you money once connected to three or more bill pay plans, to a maximum of six. You get to save 20 EUR on each extra plan added.

2. Eir

Eir network is pure Irish with the best 5G network availability. They offer a flexible plan without limits to suit every type of mobile user while giving better coverage, especially in rural Ireland.

Features

  • They are the most prominent 5G network
  • Unlimited calls and texts to eir mobiles and Irish landlines, and mobiles
  • Free EU data roaming and usage of a portion of your data in the EU
  • Flexible, no limit 30-day contracts on every SIM-only plans

Perks

  • Offers the most extensive 5G network in Ireland with coverage available in all its 26 counties, giving you high speeds of up to 1GB per second in 5G enabled areas.
  • The network offers unlimited texts, calls, and 5G Data which is excellent, especially for heavy data users.
  • You can enjoy free roaming by using a portion of your data when traveling outside Ireland but within the EU.
  • eir offers a flexible SIM-only plan with no limits to suit every type of mobile user. You can also get a SIM-only deal without being a broadband, TV, and home phone customer.
  • Offers the most extensive 5G network in Ireland with coverage available in all its 26 counties, giving you high speeds of up to 1GB per second in 5G enabled areas.
  • The network offers unlimited texts, calls, and 5G Data which is excellent, especially for heavy data users.
  • You can enjoy free roaming by using a portion of your data when traveling outside Ireland but within the EU.
  • eir offers a flexible SIM-only plan with no limits to suit every type of mobile user. You can also get a SIM-only deal without being a broadband, TV, and home phone customer.

3. Three

Three is one of Ireland’s leading mobile networks, with over 2 million customers offering the prepay and bill pay SIM-only plans to suit different needs.

Features

  • 5G coverage
  • Free Three-to-Three calls
  • Family plan
  • Online billing 

Perks

  • Three networks offer over 99% 4G coverage and a superfast 5G rolling out across every county in Ireland. However, you’ll be required to pay extra for the 5G All You Can Eat data.
  • They were voted the fastest mobile network for their high-speed coverage. All you need is a 5G ready device, an extraordinary network plan, and the 5G network coverage in your location.
  • Their free Three-to-Three calls allow you to keep in touch with your loved ones on Three for less
  • Three’s family plan connects you to other users’ plans at a 20% discount.
  • You can quickly check your usage and pay your bill via the My3 app.

4. 48

This prepaid network gives you the freedom to control and use your data without committing to a monthly contract. The 48 network allows you to stream videos, listen to music, and chat without restrictions.

Features

  • 99% 4G population coverage
  • Flexible plans
  • Prepay SIM-only plan
  • Online customer service and community help

Perks

  • They provide internet through the Three network, with 99% 4G population coverage in Ireland. This allows you to get similar coverage as Three at a fraction of the cost.
  • The 48 network allows you to choose your desired plan for a particular month. They give the freedom to start with 1GB free to see if you like its coverage and service. Once satisfied, you can pay up for all the data, calls, and texts monthly.
  • Their SIM-only deal sets you free with no contract and comes with the freedom to stream video, listen to music and chat with friends infinitely. You can also travel outside Ireland and still receive free roaming for just 10 EUR per month.
  • The 48’s online staff are there to help you with any issues and are available from 9 am to 9 pm. You can also receive help outside these hours from their active online community.

5. Clear Mobile

Clear mobile is the latest no-frills network that offers a straightforward, affordable, contract-free SIM-only deal.

Features

  • Powered by the Vodafone network
  • They offer one inexpensive SIM-only plan
  • EU/UK roaming and 10GB data
  • Online billing and excellent customer care

Perks

  • Clear Mobile is powered by the Vodafone network, with 99% 4G population coverage across Ireland. This means that you get to enjoy the same and reliable range with speeds of up to 5Mbps
  • Sign up with Clear Mobile and get unlimited data, calls, and texts at a budget-friendly price.
  • Their network offers a 10GB of data, including EU and UK roaming, which comes in handy when traveling outside Ireland without hidden charges.
  • They provide excellent customer support with high reliability and availability. You can also make your payments and inquiries in just a few clicks.

6. GoMo

GoMo is Ireland’s newest and pocket-friendly mobile network offering a simple, low-budget, unlimited SIM-only plan.

Features

  • Powered by the Eir network
  • They have an affordable, unlimited plan
  • Their prices are guaranteed for life
  • Seamless online billing
  • Free EU data roaming service

Perks

  • GoMo provides internet through the eir networks, which has 99% 4G population coverage giving you a similar range at a lower rate throughout Ireland.
  • They have a simple yet affordable plan which provides you with unlimited texts, calls, and data with no contract ties.
  • Their prices are not only heavily discounted; they are also a guaranteed price for life and not just an introductory price.
  • The MyGoMo app allows you to manage your account online rather than through paper billing activities.
  • GoMo networks provide free roaming services in over 44 EU destinations meaning that you can use their data services without worrying about hefty bills after that.

6. Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile is the biggest mobile virtual network operator in Ireland and the only provider offering two great value SIM-only deals. Their plans are affordable and flexible, giving you the freedom of a 30-day contract with some other great perks.

Features

  • 99% in 4G coverage 
  • Unlimited minutes, texts, and data 
  • International calls
  • Clubcard points
  • Online billing

Perks

  • Tesco Mobile uses the Three network, which provides 99% 4G coverage throughout Ireland, meaning that you get similar coverage at a lower cost.
  • They offer SIM-only and bill Pay contracts with a range of other plans, including; unlimited minutes, texts, and data. You can also opt for a cheaper limited plan which gives you sufficient minutes, chats, and 1GB of data, all on a 30-day rolling bill-pay contract using your minutes, calls, and data for a new phone.
  • You can catch up with your friends and family overseas at only 1 cent per minute.
  • Data doubles after registering the Clubcard to your new account or if you’re on a Tesco Mobile prepay plan by topping up with 15 EUR or more. Your Clubcard points also may double if you’re a regular Tesco shopper.
  • Tesco Mobile has award-winning customer care based in Waterford, which ensures you get the best experience both online and offline.
  • Simply log in to your MyTescoMobile app and manage your account online.

8. Virgin Media

Virgin Media is the most affordable provider for texts and calls in Ireland. They run their services on Three network.

Features

  • Has two affordable SIM-only plans, capped and unlimited
  • Has 99.9% 4G population coverage powered by Three network, yet speeds aren’t that great
  • Great introductory discounts with a range of Add-ons

Perks

  • They offer a range of SIM-only and bill pay phone plans to suit every need.
  • Virgin boasts a 99.9% population coverage for calling and 99% 4G coverage.
  • Their prices are great, and you don’t need to have Virgin Media broadband in Ireland to benefit from these offers. The Bill Pay plan is a cost-effective way to get a new phone using your minutes, calls, and data.

Best mobile network in Northern Ireland

Vodafone is the best-performing and most reliable mobile phone network across Northern Ireland for 3G and 4G networks. According to research, Northern Ireland ranks as the fourth-worst mobile phone network out of twelve in the UK.

The residents are said to have phone signals for 93.6% of the time but can go without mobile internet (via 3G and 4G) for 28.5%.

This research explains that choosing the right internet will determine your phone signal and mobile solid internet connection reliability. If you get a Vodafone contract in Northern Ireland, your phone signal will be dependable and available 95.1% of the time.

Best pay-as-you-go SIM cards in Ireland

Finding an excellent prepaid international SIM card in Ireland is cheap for tourists as you can get unlimited data for as low as 20 EUR (together with a plan). This is also a great way to avoid excessive roaming costs. Here are some of the best prepaid SIM cards in Ireland.

1. O2Pay as you go

O2 is one of the largest mobile providers in Europe. You can use their SIM cards in Ireland too!

Their visitor plan is perfect if you aren’t planning to stay in Ireland for a long time. For a monthly price of 25 EUR, you get 10 GB of internet and free calls in the O2 network. Moreover, if you are planning to travel to other European countries, roaming is included in the price.

2. SimOptions

SimOptions SIM cards have the best coverage in more than one country, allowing you to travel worldwide without buying a new one each time. Getting this SIM card would be a great choice if you’re a frequent traveler.

Monthly price: from 24,90 USD to 79,90 USD.

SimOptions pay-as-you-go packages:

SIM card namePriceDataCalls&SMS
Go Card24.90 USD5 GB50 & 50
PAYG AIO1529.90 USD10 GBUnlimited
Holiday Zen29.90 USD8 GBUnlimited
PAYG AIO2039.90 USD12 GBUnlimited

SimOptions SIM cards are more on the pricey side, but you can use it in the whole of Europe without hefty charges.

3. Eir

Eir is a fixed, mobile, and broadband telecommunications company known for being the largest operator in Ireland. You can get your SIM card for free on their website or shop and enjoy unlimited data, calls, and texts for 20 EUR only.

Monthly price: from 10 EUR to 30 EUR.

Eir’s prepaid packages:

SIM card namePriceDataCalls&SMS
110 EUR0Unlimited
220 EURUnlimited 5GUnlimited & 0 SMS
320 EURUnlimited 5G0 Calls & Unlimited
430 EURUnlimited 5GUnlimited & Unlimited

4. Three Ireland

Three provides 3G and 4G mobile phone services at an affordable rate. Their cards come in three sizes, nano, micro, and mini-SIM devices. They also have plenty of great deals for their Pay As You Go and contract customers.

Monthly price: from 15 EUR to 30 EUR.

Three’s pay-as-you-go packages:

SIM card namePriceDataCalls&SMS
3 Prepay 1515 EUR1 GB – no free 5GUnlimited & 60
3 Prepay 2020 EUR14 GB – no free 5GUnlimited
3 Prepay 3030 EUR20 GB – free 5GUnlimited

5. Vodafone Ireland

This company is a subsidiary of the Vodafone group offering a full range of voice, SMS, MMS, and mobile data. They provide their 4G network to over six cities and 500 towns in Ireland.

Monthly price: from 20 EUR to 30 EUR.

Vodafone’s pay-as-you-go packages:

SIM card namePriceDataCalls&SMS
Chat Extra20 EUR14 GBUnlimited
Vodafone X20 EURUnlimitedUnlimited
Extra Unlimited 5G30 EURUnlimited 5GUnlimited

Besides these plans, Vodafone has other pay-as-you-go plans. Check it here.

6. Tesco Mobile

Tesco is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator with over 400,000 customers. For their mobile plans, they use the Three network in Ireland. Tesco offers only one Pay As You Go SIM card. You can order it online and enjoy a month’s worth of data, minutes, and texts.

Monthly price: 15 EUR.

Tesco Mobile pay-as-you-go packages:

SIM card namePriceDataCalls&SMS
Clubcard15 EUR30 GBUnlimited

Speed of mobile plans in Ireland

Eir’s network has some of the best speed in the country:

Average Speed4G (Stationary)4G (Moving)3G (Stationary)3G (Moving)
Vodafone18.3Mb20.3Mb11.6Mb8.1Mb
Three18.3Mb14.9Mb10.0Mb7.7Mb
Eir22.8Mb18.0Mb11.4Mb8.0Mb
Source: bonkers.ie

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