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Ireland - SIM cards

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#1 Aleksandra


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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:33 PM

Order Irish Prepaid SIM Now


General Information

It is expected that 3 physical operators will remain in the Republic of Ireland in the future:

  • Eircom (meteor and eMobile)
  • Vodafone (Ireland)
  • Hutchison 3 (= Three) merging with O2 (by Telefónica)

The acquisition of O2 in Ireland by Hutchison Whampoa (Three) was approved in May 2014 subject to implementation of conditions. Transfer of O2 customers to the Three network may take some time due to the technical complexity of the consolidation. For a limited time both brands will coexist, but O2 will disappear from the Irish market if the takeover is completed successfully.


Vodafone is still market leader by subscribers, Three is currently the smallest network and has the most patchy native coverage. This is expected to improve when the takeover of O2 is completed, and when 3 will gain access to the network sharing agreement that O2 had with eircom. Following this takeover, 3 will have a combined 2G/3G/4G network and their existing 2G roaming on Vodafone will come to an end.


Eircom offers a very good coverage and speed throughout the country under the Meteor and eMobile brands. Eircom 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 in about 20 towns and gives it out for free for the time being.


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Vodafone has the most subscribers in the country and a good coverage and speed on 2G, 3G and 4G Vodafone Coverage. 4G is only available on the Pay as you go RED bundle.


Availability and start-up


The pay-as-you-go SIM can be purchased at their stores (store locator) and other agents like Carphone Warehouse for free, but you have to make a top-up right away.


Data feature packs


Pay as you go 

The prepaid SIMs all come with different monthly top-up "plans".

  • Red plan: unlimited domestic calls, unlimited domestic texts and 1 GB of data for 30 €. To buy, text RED to 50233
  • Data plan: 1 GB of data within 30 days for 15 €. To buy add on, text DATA to 50233

If you don't subscribe to a package or overuse, data will billed with 0.99 € per day for 50 MB (only the days you use data), then 1 € per MB thereafter.


Mobile Broadband Pay as you go

Vodafone also sells data-only prepaid SIMs which are managed online where you can buy the following packages:

  • Broadband Daily: from 0.00h-23.59h of the day, max. 500 MB, 3 €
  • Broadband Weekly: for 7 days, max. 2 GB, 10 €
  • Broadband Monthly: for 30 days: max. 5 GB: 20 €

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


SIM sizes


Standard SIMs and Micro-SIMs available.

Internet settings

  • APN: live.vodafone.com

More information

  • Long TCP connections have a tendency of being dropped and ssh port seems to be blocked
  • Tethering: Allowed


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Hutchison 3 (= Three)




For now Three in Ireland is a 3G (900 and 2100 Mhz) and 4G (1800 Mhz) network only roaming for 2G on Vodafone but not for data. This will end soon in 2014 with the acquisition of O2 when it will become a full range operator. Though the originial 3G network of Three already gives good coverage and speeds in the cities: Three Coverage Map. Three gives out 4G/LTE as only operator for free to prepaid until at least 31/8/14.


Availability and start-up


SIMs can be purchased online or stores 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.


Prepaid SIM


The default pricing for data transfers is 0.99 € per MB:

  • for a 20 € top up, you get "unlimited" data (= 15 GB) in a month;
  • for 4.99 € top up, you get 500 MB in a month;

Prepaid Broadband SIM


This SIM is data-only 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 is charged with 0.0203 € per MB.


SIM sizes


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


More info

  • Tethering: officially prohibited
  • "Unlimited" means 15GB Fair-usage-policy. If you exceed this, your data-speed may be throttled.
  • Broadband micro-SIM does not support Personal Hotspot on iPad (3 or 4.)
  • Skype may be filtered in some cases. Currently, it is free with the 3 mobile skype app on a compatible phone/.
  • Three in Ireland offers "Three Like Home" on all prepay plans. This allows calls, text, and data to be used in the Three networks of UK, Italy, Austria, Denmark, and Sweden as they would while in Ireland. This service is also offered to bill-pay customers as an optional add-on.
  • APN: 3ireland.ie


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meteor (by Eircom)


Meteor is the low-cost mobile brand provided by Ireland's largest Telecom operator Eircom.


Currently Meteor is the third largest mobile operator, and it's parent eircom also has the advantage of owning the national fibre backbone, enabling it to offer excellent data speeds at a very good coverage. Meteor Coverage


Eircom was the first operator to commercially launch LTE/4G in Ireland in September 2013 and has the most advanced 4G network, but its LTE is not yet available on prepaid plans.


Availability and start-up


Meteor offers its pay-as-you-go SIM card for free in its shops Meteor store locator and other outlets like Carphone Warehouse. Minimum top-up is €5. Top up vouchers are widely available nationwide. The € 10 per month deal for 7.5 GB per month is likely to be the most attractive deal for visitors requiring Prepaid Data in Ireland.


Data feature packs


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


Internet add-ons:

Price      Volume    Speed         SMS to 50104 to activate

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 €        7.5 GB     2G, 3G, 4G    2data

BlackBerry® add-on:

Price      Volume     Speed         SMS to 50104 to activate

9.99 €     1 GB          2G, 3G        MyBlackberry


Mobile Broadband Passes (2G and 3G):

Price                 Volume             Time

2.99 €                500 MB            1 day
7.99 €                     2 GB            7 days
19.99 €               7.5 GB           30 days
On their data-only SIM, these Mobile Broadband Passes can be added.


0.99 € per MB if you go over your allowance.


Note that the Mobile Broadband bundles require a different data-only SIM card and can't be mixed with the other internet add-ons.


SIM sizes


Standard SIM and micro SIMs are available.




Supported at no additional charges.


Internet settings


The required APN settings are: data.mymeteor.ie


More information


Skype and Viber work on Meteor.


WIFI add-on


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 such as Dublin Airport, cafes, hotels etc. 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.


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Tesco Mobile




Tesco Mobile is the MVNO of the leading cash'n'carry retailer in the country. It used to operate on the O2 network. After the acquisition of O2 by Three it is very likely that Tesco Mobile will be migrated to the Three network. Unlike other Three networks, the regulator in Ireland required that Three accepts MVNOs on its net.


Availability and start-up


The SIM card can be bought at any Tesco outlet Tesco store locator in the country only for free. Top up vouchers can be found at Tesco, Payzone, Paypoint, Postpoint and other stores for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 €.


Pay as you go plans


The default pricing for data transfers is 0.77€ per MB. Following bundle can be booked: 


Price     Volume    Period    Text SMS to activate
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.


Pay as you go mobile broadband data SIM


This product line says it all: data-only at very attractive rates. The start up price for the SIM is 2.50 €. They offer two packages:

  • light: 3 GB in 90 days for 15 €
  • heavy: 15 GB in 30 days for 15 €

These packages can only be booked when topped up after registration online on their website.


SIM sizes


Standard, micro and nano SIM for the call, text and data SIM


More info

  • APN: tescomobile.liffeytelecom.com
  • Tesco service has suffered serious outages but things may change when moved to Three


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O2 (by Telefónica)



After the acquisition of O2 by Hutchison Three the days of O2 will come to an end in Ireland. Existing customers of O2 will be migrated to the Three network. Until the merger has been finalized, O2 products are still available in the country. O2 has a reasonable 2G coverage but is patchy for 3G and has no 4G at all: O2 Coverage Map.


Availability and start-up


Their prepaid SIM is free of charge in their shops [locator)] and some outlets. Top-up vouchers are widely available.


Prepaid Plans


They have 2 plans you can subscribe with included data:

  • Freedom Internet: for a 20 € top up, you get 7.5 GB per month, 350 domestic texts and 10 € uneaten credit. For activation text "Internet" to 50272 and wait for confirmation.
  • Freedom Anytime: for a 30 € top up, you get unlimited domestic calls and texts and 1 GB data per month. For activation text "Anytime" to 50272 and wait for confirmation.

Default rate outside plans is €1 for usage of up to 50MB per day, usage over 50MB is charged at €1 per MB.


If you are not on a prepaid plan, you can still buy data add ons:

  • 100 MB per week: 2.99 EUR. Activation code: 3NET
  • 200 MB per moth: 4.99 EUR. Activation code: 5NET
  • 1 GB per month: 9.99 EUR, Activation code: 10NET

For activation, text code to 50231 Add-on will renew automatically, to stop text "CANCEL" to 50231, to check data usage text "USAGE" to 50231.


Prepaid Mobile Broadband


Their free data-only SIM can be loaded with these packages:

Price Time Volume 3.99 € 24 hours 500 MB 9.99 € 7 days 2 GB 19.99 € 30 days 7.5 GB


Price         Time        Volume
3.99 €    24 hours   500 MB
9.99 €     7 days          2 GB
19.99 €  30 days     7.5 GB

Out of bundle usage and overuse is 0.02 € per MB.


More info

  • APN: internet
  • These offers may be discontinued soon as the brand is expected to disappear from the Irish market


Source - http://prepaidwithdata.wikia.com

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