Whether you’re moving to the big city for the first time for college, or you’re just looking for a new broadband deal that will suit your student pocket a bit better - we’ve got you covered. In this article, we compare the best student-friendly broadband deals currently on the market.
At bonkers.ie we’re all about helping you to save money when it comes to household bills and we know that no one appreciates a good deal more than the savvy money-saving student.
Though we’re aware that price is usually top of any student’s agenda while deal hunting, we’re equally aware that price isn’t everything.
So below you’ll find some of the best broadband deals out there, which take into account factors that cover more than just price. So whether you're looking for a zero commitment deal, the cheapest deal going or simply want to find out the best way to watch some top-class sporting action on the cheap, we've got you covered.
Cheapest deal you’ll find: Vodafone's Simply Broadband
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible solution to keep you and your housemates happy where broadband is concerned, Vodafone could be it.
With its Simply Broadband broadband-only plan you’ll get an unlimited 100Mbps connection for just €30 per month for the first 12 months. That means for one year of broadband with Vodafone you'll pay a total of just €360.
However this is fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband (FTTC) and not fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) so the actual speed you get could be lower. See here for an explanation on the difference between the two.
It's a 12-month contract, after which the price rises to €50 a month. But when your monthly price goes up at the end of the first year, you can always switch providers to get a better deal!
The clear winner for sports fans: Eir's Broadband & Home Phone
Cheaper than its broadband-only deal, Eir is offering a good deal on its broadband and home phone package for sports fans.
On this plan, you’ll get speeds of up to 100Mbps and a home phone package, as well as free access to Eir Sport for €29.99 per month for the first 12 months and €59.99 a month thereafter on a 12-month contract.
Broadband & Home Phone
Broadband & Home Phone
- Amazon Prime Video subscription
- FREE eir sport pack
- Off-peak calls to Irish landlines
- 12 month contract
Again, this is fibre-to-the-cabinet broadband so the actual speed you get could be lower than 100Mbps.
There is currently also a one-off activation fee of €49.99 which gives a first-year cost of just under €410.
Eir Sport recently received a lot of slack for losing access to the BT Sport channels but its remaining channels; Eir Sport 1 and Eir Sport, 2 still show a good mix of rugby, tennis, domestic soccer and some golf.
You’ll be able to watch either of these channels via your laptop, phone or tablet providing you sign up to any of Eir’s broadband deals.
And finally, another great selling point of this deal is that it also comes with a free one-year subscription to Amazon Prime Video.
Can’t be tied into a contract? Check out Virgin Media's Freedom 250
A big problem for students every year is the issue of long-term broadband contracts that offer no flexibility to students who might only need broadband during the academic months of the year. Many students can’t afford to be tied into 12 or 18-month contracts like those discussed above and contract breakage fees are both unwelcome and costly.
That’s where Virgin Media comes in. It is the only broadband provider currently offering an unlimited broadband plan based on a 30-day, rolling contract. With its Freedom 250 plan, for €59 per month, you get an unlimited 250Mbps broadband connection, which can be cancelled at any time.
This might be a little bit pricier than the previous deals discussed on the list but bear in mind it is the fastest of all the providers (by a large margin) and the freedom to leave your contract at any time is certainly a big draw.
What's more, all broadband customers now get the Virgin Media TV Anywhere Sports Pass for free with their plan, which gives customers free access to Virgin Media Sport on their phone or laptop.
Want to bring your broadband with you? Consider Mobile broadband
Another option is mobile broadband. This allows you access the internet via the 4G or 5G network operated by mobile operators, usually through a small router plugged into your wall into which you insert a special SIM. Speeds of between 10Mbps and 30Mbps are widely possible with a 4G network for as little as €15 to €30 a month.
Some providers like 3 Ireland offer the choice of a rolling, 30-day plan or a contract between 18 and 24 months.
Depending on the plan, the router might be included too.
The beauty of mobile broadband is that you can take the router, and thereby WI-FI, with you wherever you go. But remember, if you've patchy signal on your phone back home, it'll probably be true for your mobile broadband too as it's using the same network. And if you decide to go with a flexible, 30-day rolling contract you'll likely have to pay for the router yourself, which could set you back around €150.
Also, mobile broadband is never as fast and reliable as fixed broadband so is rarely suitable for homes where several people might be sharing the connection.
Remember to compare all deals!
While we’ve hand-picked what we believe to be the best deals suitable for students above, it’s important to remember that everyone’s needs are different and it may be the case that none of these deals suit your particular requirements.
Here we’ve focused primarily on broadband-only and dual play deals but you might be interested in tripleplay deals that include broadband, home phone as well as TV.
Run a full comparison to check which providers are available in your area to ensure that you’re getting the best possible deal when you sign up to your new broadband provider.