Competition in the mobile market reaches new heights as Vodafone becomes the latest operator to launch a budget brand.
When Eir launched GoMo back in late 2019, it’s fair to say that it shook up the market.
In the intervening months Three has relaunched its previously youth-focussed brand 48 to a wider market, Virgin Mobile launched a new €5 a month SIM-only deal, and now today Vodafone has launched its low-cost, budget brand Clear Mobile.
Who is Clear Mobile?
Clear Mobile is the new, low-cost, online-only mobile brand from Vodafone.
It promises 99% 4G population coverage and will piggyback off the existing Vodafone network. However Vodafone is keen to stress that it’s a standalone, independent entity with its own separate management, customer service and operations teams.
All customers will sign up and be serviced online, and not through any part of Vodafone's extensive highstreet retail network.
What’s on offer?
Clear Mobile is offering customers unlimited calls and texts to any Irish mobile or landline as well as unlimited data for just €12.99 a month on a SIM-only deal.
When roaming in the UK or the EU, 10GB of data a month is available.
Speaking about the launch a spokesperson for Vodafone said:
“It’s a simplified online SIM-only offering that suits the requirements of customers who want a paired back, low cost option from their mobile provider without all the additional benefits that you get with an operator such as Vodafone.”
- Unlimited data - there is no fair usage cap. GoMo only offers a download allowance of up to 120GB a month, and 48 only offers 100GB a month, after which both providers reserve the right to throttle your speeds
- Clear Mobile will use Vodafone's network, which is regarded as the best and most reliable for speed and coverage
- At only €12.99 a month it’s significantly cheaper than Vodafone’s current cheapest plan, which is €20 a month on pay-as-you-go
- No contract - just pay each month and then cancel at any time
- You can keep your existing number when you sign up - or alternatively get a new one
The not quite so good
- Data speeds are limited to just 5Mbps, which is hardly fast, and a fraction of what’s possible on a normal 4G network, let alone 5G
- It’s SIM-only, meaning you won’t get a subsidised phone or be able to upgrade
- There is a €12.99 joining fee, payable along with your first month’s payment, though this won’t apply to the first 25,000 customers who sign up online
- Customer service, which is patchy at best with most of the telecommunications providers, is unlikely to wow. As with GoMo, Clear Mobile will have its own separate website and customer service team, with support only available via online chat and social media
- Unlike GoMo, there is no mention of the price being for life, so it could go up in the future, though given the cutthroat competition in the market at present that's unlikely in the medium term at least
- Unlike most of Vodafone's plans, international calls and texts aren't included
Remember, if moving to Clear Mobile, or indeed any other SIM-only deal, 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 should be able to provide you with the relevant unlocking code, however this can be a surprisingly laborious process.
And as mentioned above, you won’t have the choice of any phones. When it’s time to upgrade or buy a new one, you’ll need to pay full price or else commit to a higher billpay offering.
Switch and save
If you’re considering signing up to a new SIM-only mobile plan you can save yourself the hassle of comparing multiple providers by checking out our mobile comparisons here.
You can also research the best SIM-only plans on the market by checking out our other blog post which compares the current offerings from all the providers. Alternatively, you can listen to the episode of our bonkers.ie podcast series, where we discuss the best SIM-only deals on the market.
While cost is undeniably a huge factor when choosing a mobile plan, there are other things to take into consideration. Here are 10 other important factors to keep in mind when making your choice.
Clear Mobile doesn’t offer 5G at the moment, but if you’re curious about what mobile providers do offer 5G services, check out this blog post where we outline what 5G plans are currently on offer from Irish providers.
Get in touch
Are you on the lookout for a new SIM-only plan? What do you make of this new offer from Clear Mobile? Let us know in the comments below!