Image What are the best SIM-only deals in Ireland right now?
Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

Are you looking to save some money on your mobile costs? We're here to help. In this article we break down the best SIM-only deals currently on offer from Ireland’s leading mobile networks.

If you're looking to save some money on your phone bills a good option is to look into SIM-only deals, which have exploded in popularity over the past few years,

A SIM-only plan is, quite literally, when you purchase just a SIM card, which comes with an allocation of data, texts and minutes per month.

SIM-only plans are generally much cheaper because you don't incur the cost of buying a phone.

SIM-only deals are now available from all the main mobile providers and some operators such as GoMo and 48 focus solely on these deals. 

So, in the interest of speed and convenience, check out the tables below comparing the best value billpay and pay-as-you-go SIM-only deals currently on offer on the Irish market.

SIM-Only Billpay Plans

Billpay

Price

Calls

Texts

Data allowance

Extras

Clear Mobile

€12.99 per month

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited - max speed 5Mbps

10GB EU roaming

Three

€30 every 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited

Access to 3Plus rewards

19GB EU roaming

60 international minutes / texts

Add 5G data for €4.99 extra p/m

Vodafone

€25 per month for 6 months, €35 per month thereafter (12-month contract)

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited (max speed 10Mbps)

Unlimited calls & texts to EU mobiles and landlines

100 minutes & texts to other international countries 

 

€35 per month for 6 months, €45 per month thereafter (12-month contract)

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited

Unlimited calls & texts to Europe, Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico mobiles & landlines plus 500 minutes & texts to other international countries 

5G ready

GoMo

€14.99 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

120GB - 4G only

10GB of data to use in the EU

Wi-Fi Calling 

Eir

€14.99 a month for 12 months, €29.99 per month thereafter

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited - 4G only

30GB of data to use in the EU

 

€19.99 a month for 12 months, €34.99 per month thereafter

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited - 5G 

50GB of data to use in the EU

200 international minutes

Tesco Mobile

€10 per 30 days

100 minutes to any network

100 texts to any network

1GB - 4G only

N/A

€20 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

60GB - 4G only

10.8GB of data to use in the EU

300 international minutes to select countries

48

€10.99 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

100GB - 4G only

10GB EU/UK roaming. Ability to carry over, borrow, share, and swap data

Virgin Mobile

€15 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

5GB - 4G only

 

€25 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited - 4G only

13.6GB EU roaming

SIM-Only Pay-As-You-Go Plans:

Prepay

Price

Calls

Texts

Data allowance

Extras

Three

€15 every 28 days

Unlimited to any network

60

1GB

Access to 3Plus rewards

Add 5G data to any Prepay plan for an extra €5 every 28 days

1GB EU roaming

€20 every 28 days

Free Three to Three calls

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited

Access to 3Plus rewards

11GB EU data

 

€30 every 28 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited

Access to 3Plus rewards

17GB EU data

30 international minutes

Vodafone

Chat Extra - €20 every 28 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

10GB

Any unused data rolls over to next month provided you top-up

10GB EU data

 

Smart Extra - €20 every 28 days

Unlimited Vodafone calls + 100  any network minutes 

Unlimited Vodafone texts + 100 any network texts. 

20GB

Any unused data rolls over to next month

20GB EU data

 

Vodafone X - €20 every 28 days

100 any network minutes + unlimited weekend calls

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited (Max speed of 10Mbps)

Access to Vodafone rewards including Level Up and Fantastic Days

Unlimited EU data

 

Extra - €30 every 28 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

30GB

Any unused data rolls over to next month

100 international minutes

30GB EU data

Tesco Mobile

€15 per 28 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited Tesco mobile texts

15GB

Double your data allowance to 30GB when you register your Tesco Clubcard to your mobile account. Boost €5 in Clubcard vouchers to €15 in top-up

Lyca Mobile

€10 per 30 days

Unlimited to any network

Unlimited to any network

25GB

Unlimited calls to Poland and Romania

Is there better value with billpay or SIM-only deals? 

With billpay plans you’re also paying for the cost of a handset so these plans will usually be way more expensive than a SIM-only deal.

Depending on the phone you have chosen and the plan you signed up to, you’re often looking at paying around €40 to €60 a month. If not more. But once your contract has come to a finish, and you’ve paid off your phone, which is usually after 24 months, unless you want to upgrade to a new phone and commit to a new billpay contract, you’d be crazy not to look at a SIM-only plan, even just for a year perhaps.

Do I need to switch provider?

You don't necessarily even have to switch provider to get a cheap, SIM-only deal.

If you're on billpay and have come to the end of your contract, you can simply change to a far cheaper SIM-only deal with your current provider for a few months if you want to. Then when it's time to upgrade to a new phone, you can either buy one outright and stay on your low-cost, SIM-only plan or recommit to another 24-month, billpay contract.

If you do decide to switch provider though, remember that the switching process is very simple and you can keep your existing number no matter who you move to!

However, if moving to a SIM-only deal with a rival operator you must ensure that your current phone is fully unlocked and therefore able to accept a rival operator's SIM. 

If you're out of contract with your existing provider they will be able to provide you with the relevant unlocking code.

Which SIM-only plan is right for me?

When it comes to choosing the best plan for your individual needs, cost is usually the main consideration, but there are a few other things that you'll want to consider such as:

  • Calls and texts per month
  • Fair usage policy
  • Data allowance
  • International calls and texts
  • EU roaming allowance 
  • Network coverage
  • Download speeds
  • 4G versus 5G
  • Sign-up incentives 
  • Customer service 
  • Contract length

Some of these are covered in the tables above, but if you’re curious about data coverage and speed in your area, it's worth having a look at this piece. 

As always here at bonkers.ie, we recommend that you thoroughly suss out all of the options available to you before making any decisions, especially where long-term contracts are concerned!

Don't forget that the above plans are just a selection of the many plans on offer from each network and don't include plans which include handsets in the contract.

What networks offer the best coverage in Ireland? 

Vodafone’s coverage is usually regarded as the most reliable and extensive but it really depends on where you live. ComReg’s outdoor mobile coverage map is a good tool for consumers to see how all the operators compare in a particular area.

Be aware that Clear Mobile, Virgin, Lyca, 48, GoMo and Tesco Mobile are all MVNOs so their coverage will generally be the same as the operator network they’re running on. Clear Mobile is with Vodafone, GoMo is with Eir, while all the others piggyback off 3’s network.

What about 5G? 

Many of the SIM-only plans available only offer access to 4G data and speeds for now.

However 5G is still in its infancy. Coverage outside the main towns and cities is still very patchy, if existent at all, while 5G-enabled phones still aren’t that widely available. It’s improving all the time of course but for now 4G will suffice for most people.

And while 5G can reach speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G, for many people, 4G is more than capable of handling their data requirements.