Eir vs Sky vs Virgin Media vs Vodafone – how do they compare?
Daragh Cassidy
Head Writer

Broadband and TV bundles can be notoriously difficult to compare like-for-like. So, we've stripped away the distracting details, creative pricing and dubious marketing messages and taken a cold hard look at how Eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone really stack up.

HD compatibility, TV channels, set-up fees and broadband speed. These are just some of the things to consider when comparing bundles! 

It's little wonder that with so many features and head-spinning marketing messages to wade through, it can be tough to find out who's offering the best deal.

So we've done the hard work for you and searched through all the details to find out how the main providers really stack up.

To create as level a playing field as possible, we’ll compare the standard broadband and TV bundles from Eir, Sky, Virgin Media and Vodafone.

The deals available to you will depend on your location. But once you type your address or eircode into our search tool, we'll only show you the deals at your address.

One thing to note is that Eir, Virgin Media and Vodafone no longer sell TV as a stand alone product. You must also sign up to the respective provider's broadband service. 

Another thing to note is that Eir and Vodafone have both implemented 'annual price adjustments' on all their broadband and TV packages. This means that the cost of your plan after the first year is up will increase each April by the rate of inflation (as of January each year) plus and additional 3%. So something to bear in mind.

Eir

1. What do you get?

With Eir you get:

  • 500Mbps pure-fibre unlimited broadband 
  • Over 60 TV channels
  • For a small extra charge you can add a home phone plan with unlimited off-peak local and national calls to landlines

2. What does it cost?

It’s a 12-month contract and costs €44.99 a month for the first year and €95.98 per month thereafter. However the follow-on price will go up by the rate of inflation plus 3% every April.

Eir usually charges an activation fee of €50 but does waive this from time to time while it also often runs €50 cashback offers. So check our site regularly.   

3. What's special about this plan? 

Eir has teamed up with Apple to incorporate its TV service into Apple TV, with all customers getting a free Apple TV 4K set-top box.

Apple TV is the media player from Apple that lets you stream content onto your own TV. It gives users access to popular Apple services such as iTunes films and TV shows, Apple TV channels, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, FaceTime, and other popular apps such as Netflix and YouTube. It will also give users access to Apple TV+, the streaming service from Apple that boasts hit shows like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso.

And now, after Eir and Apple joined forces, it’ll also contain Eir’s TV service, which includes HD as standard and over 60 live TV channels like RTE, BBC, Channel 4, and Virgin Media.

Customers also get a free one-year subscription to Amazon Prime Video. 

Eir TV uses cloud recording which is a relatively new technology. It brings with it many benefits such as the ability to have multiple simultaneous recordings and it reduces the need for physical storage space meaning the set-top box can be smaller and neater. However, as your data is stored in 'the cloud' some of the more traditional content providers like RTE and BBC are not yet willing to grant rights for viewers to live record. However, this is changing all the time but for now, you won't be able to record on every channel you want. 

Through the Apple TV app store you can also easily download and view the RTE Player and Channel 4 Player and more (meaning you can catch up on some shows you couldn't record) while there's a handy seven-day catch-up feature.

For €99 upfront you can also get the Eir Smart Wi-Fi hub. According to Eir, this Wi-Fi extender can improve your Wi-Fi signal strength by ten times and extend coverage by up to 150sqm, meaning you can get fast and reliable internet throughout your home, including those hard to reach places. Simply plug and play. Once paired with your modem you can move to your desired location without additional wiring.

You can sign up to this Eir bundle right now on bonkers.ie.

Sky

1. What do you get?

With Sky you get:

  • 500Mbps pure-fibre unlimited broadband depending on your location
  • Over 70 TV channels with Sky Ultimate TV 
  • For a small extra charge you can add a home phone plan with unlimited off-peak local and national calls of up to one hour

2. What does it cost?

It’s a 12-month contract and the price is currently €50 per month for the first 12 months after which the price rises to €101 per month. 

There's also a one-off set-up/activation fee of €50 for all new customers. However this is waived from time to time. 

This Sky bundle is available for sign up now.

3. What's special about this plan? 

With Sky you get access to the hugely popular Sky Atlantic TV channel as standard as well as Sky VIP (Sky's very good loyalty rewards programme). 

This deal also comes with a basic Netflix subscription included in the price. 

You also get access to Sky Go at no additional cost, which lets you watch Sky TV wherever you are in the UK and Ireland on any compatible mobile, tablet or laptop - wherever you have an internet connection basically! 

Unlike all the other providers on our list, you don't have to be a Sky broadband customer to get Sky TV. You'll need a broadband connection of course, but it doesn't have to be with Sky.    

Virgin Media

1. What do you get?

With Virgin Media you get:

  • Up to 500Mbps pure fibre unlimited broadband
  • Over 100 TV channels

2. What does it cost?

This deal from Virgin Media will cost you €50 per month for the first 12 months, after which the price will rise to €104 a month. 

Again it's a 12-month contract. But there is also the option to lock into a 24-month contract for €55 a month - so much better value if you don't plan to switch again after the first year is up. 

Virgin Media currently charges a €50 activation fee.

Unlike Eir and Vodafone, your plan won't be subject to an annual price hike each April. This doesn't mean your plan won't increase in price each year, but probably not to the same extent.  

3. What's special about this plan? 

If you need a hand setting up your service, Virgin customers can avail of its 'Red House Ninja' service. A Virgin 'Ninja' will come to your home, install your services, optimise your Wi-Fi, do a full review of your signal strength and any reach issues in your home, and connect all your devices. They won’t rest until everything is up and running and connected seamlessly. There’s a €50 charge for this service, but you get the added peace of mind of knowing that everything will be set up just right.

You also get access to the new Virgin 360 streaming set-top box which replaces the Virgin TV 360 box and is a fraction of the size. The box has lots of the most popular apps pre-installed and comes with cloud recording and voice search. There is also the option to create separate viewer profiles which is handy for those in large families or renting with others.

If you want add on a home phone package it includes free anytime calls to mobiles and not just landlines - the only provider on our list to offer this. 

Virgin broadband customers can also get a €5 a month discount on Virgin Mobile's unlimited sim-only deal. 

You can sign up to this Virgin Media deal right here on bonkers.ie.

Vodafone

1. What do you get?

With Vodafone you get

  • 500Mbps pure-fibre broadband depending on your location
  • Over 100 TV channels
  • A home phone plan with unlimited anytime calls to Irish landlines that you can add on for a small fee

2. What does it cost?

Vodafone's deal costs €55 a month for the first six months and €65 thereafter. It's a 12-month contract, but the price doesn't shoot up afterwards like with most providers - it stays at €65 a month indefinitely, subject to the annual price adjustment each April. This makes it great value over the longer term. 

Vodafone doesn't charge any set-up or installation fees.

3. What's special about this plan? 

This deal comes with Vodafone TV PLAY, Vodafone's new set-top box which it calls a 'premium entertainment hub'. 

The TV box has some cool features like 4K ultra HD picture quality, an integrated Bang and Olufsen surround sound system, and built-in Bluetooth and Chromecast for easy streaming from your phone.  

There's also hands-free voice control; simply ask Google Assistant to control your TV and smart home devices with just your voice.

As wtih Eir and Virgin, Vodafone uses cloud recording so not all TV channels are covered. But there is a handy seven-day catch-up feature. 

The box comes preloaded with the most popular apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, RTE Player, and Virgin Media Player to make for easy set-up and viewing. And you can easily search for content across live TV channels and streaming apps with the universal search feature.

Vodafone has also partnered with NOW TV allowing you to easily sign up to the popular streaming service and bundle your subscription and receive the one bill. 

For a small additional fee (currently €5 per month) you can sign up to Vodafone Always Connected, which is a 4G backup for your broadband. If your broadband experiences an interruption, it will automatically switch to the 4G Vodafone mobile network using your Vodafone Always Connected device. All of your personal devices will stay connected to the internet without you needing to do anything. And when the issue is resolved, it switches back to your fixed-line broadband network as normal.

You can also avail of Vodafone's Super Wi-Fi extenders to increase the reach of your signal throughout your home. While most standard Wi-Fi extenders come with an upfront hardware cost, Vodafone's Super Wi-Fi is sold as an add-on to your broadband that you can cancel anytime and costs just €5 per month. 

You can sign up to this Vodafone bundle right now on bonkers.ie.

Who wins?

Well, it's a close call but Eir just about edges it because of its tie-in with Apple TV and its competitive pricing in the first year perhaps. However, if longer-term value is important, it's hard to look past Vodafone especially given its new improved TV service.

The key point here is that there are some genuinely fantastic offers out there at the moment for people who are prepared to switch.

So if you're not happy with your current broadband speed or the price you’re paying, there’s no reason to settle. All of the deals we’ve covered are available for sign up on bonkers.ie right now.

Provider

Eir

Sky

Virgin Media

Vodafone

Core features

Up to 100Mbps or 500Mbps unlimited broadband

60+ TV channels

Up to 100Mbps or 500Mbps unlimited broadband

70+ TV channels

Up to 500Mbps unlimited broadband

100+ TV channels

Up to 100Mbps or 500Mbps unlimited broadband

100+ TV channels

Set-up fee

Free

Free

€50

Free

Contract length

12 months

12 months

12 months

12 months

Introductory price

€44.99 for first 12 months 

€50 for first 12 months

€50 for first 12 months

€55 for first 6 months

Follow-on price 

€95.98

€101

€104

€65

Full-year cost over 1 year

€489.88 - includes €50 credit

€600

€650

€720

Extras

Apple TV 4K set-top box at no extra charge 

HD at no extra charge

7-day catch-up feature

Free Amazon Prime Video

Sky Atlantic TV channel

Sky VIP loyalty programme

Sky Q

Sky Go

Free Netflix subscription

Red House Ninja service (€50 fee)

Discounted Virgin Mobile plan 

Anytime calls to mobiles 

Virgin TV Anywhere app

No 'thereafter' pricing 

Vodafone Always Connected

Super Wi-Fi extender

7-day catch-up feature