Ireland has a number of Mobile Telephone Providers: Three, o2, Meteor, Vodafone, Tesco (using the o2 network like in the UK).
I have found that Three offer the best deal for mobile usage.
It has two free offer plans on its PAYG sim cards:
- Topup €10: Get 200MB free internet, 50 free texts, 50 minutes, and free 3 to 3 calling
- Topup €20: Get a score and a half.
Included in the €20 deal you get the following:
- Unlimited Internet
- Unlimited Texts
- Free ‘Unlimited’ Any Network Weekend Minutes
- Free 3000 Three to Three calls
- Free 3000 Skype Minutes (not sure how this works though, since you get free unlimited data).
You also KEEP THE €20 credit to use for calling. Let me outline how cost effective this deal is: In the UK I was paying £25/month to Sky for my Telephone and Internet (ADSL). This means that my Internet bill in Ireland is cheaper, and we even get to use it as a mobile surfing.
You get Unlimited Internet (we use it for everything, using well over 30GB of transfer a month) via a WiFi hotspot on a Samsung Galaxy Ace mobile phone (available in many mobiles – even iPhones)
- BBC iPlayer
- Googling and general surfing. It sorts us out no problem.
I use two: One for my mobile (and business line) phone, and one for the internet at home (because we need to leave one on the Window Ledge upstairs to get a decent signal). The Samsung Galaxy Ace mobile then makes a perfect WiFi router. We sometimes have to restart the mobile (with all devices they go haywire occassionally), but it works wonders – even with six or seven devices connected to it.
So, i’m sure your going to ask: thats OK, but what are the connection speeds like? Here’s a quick speedtest for you to look over.
Shockingly (whilst not quite up to fibre speeds) this is still better than I was getting in Tiddington via Sky ADSL. The connection speeds are actually better still in Dublin City.
To add onto this fantastic offer. Three also offer roaming in the UK and Ireland for its customers. [See: Three Like Home] – I do get a text message every time we drive up to Newry telling us about roaming charges. I therefore remove my Sim Card and don’t use it (I don’t want to risk my credit).
Risking my credit also brings me onto my next point: Make sure you topup on time. I mixed my dates up. I thought my topup date was 27th December and it was actually 22nd. I used over €20 of credit in less than 30 minutes! It’s worth noting that your 3000 minutes of three to three calls also expires 7 days after your internet bundle. So go by the topup date, and remember to topup the €20 the day before its due!
You can also get Sim Cards for PAYG mobiles from Tesco for €0.99 (and sometimes they offer a voucher for a FREE Sim – with no topup) should you just need a contact number.