Broadband, Phone & TV

What 5G mobile plans are now available?

What 5G mobile plans are now available?
Rob Flynn

Rob Flynn

Staff Writer

There are currently three mobile networks which provide 5G services in Ireland and with over 10 deals to choose from consumers have plenty of choice.

The fifth generation of mobile broadband is well and truly here with an ever-expanding infrastructure of 5G technology continuing to be rolled out across the country.

If you're one of those dazzled by the incredibly fast speeds that 5G can offer, you might also be interested in signing up to a plan yourself.

However, to avail of 5G data and services customers must first have a 5G compatible phone as well as a 5G specific plan.

In this blog we'll take a look at some of the 5G plans and offers available to Irish consumers and the networks which provide them.

But first, before we get to the deals, here's a quick refresher on what exactly we mean by 5G.

What is 5G?

5G is the newest and fastest mobile broadband currently available on the market and boasts swift speeds, low latency, and better connectivity for mobile customers.

The new technology differs from 4G in that it works at a higher operating frequency and so requires more bandwidth to be able to do so. This also means that the radio waves travel shorter distances so more infrastructure (masts, antennae) are required to be built in order for it to function properly. 

In practice, 5G speeds are up to 10 times faster than what’s achievable with 4G, so consumers can expect download speeds of up to 1Gbps, which is very, very fast. 

For a more thorough look at 5G and all it offers you can read our guide here.

Three Ireland

Three offers 5G services in parts of every county in Ireland, with coverage in 121 areas nationwide. However, as with most internet services, customers will have better access closer to populated urban centres.

Three said in November of last year that it had 37.5% 5G population coverage, with that figure likely to have increased somewhat in subsequent months with increased expansion of its network. It expects 60% capacity to be reached by the end of 2021. You can check Three’s website to see its 5G coverage map in full.

At the moment Three customers can sign up to any one of its prepay, bill pay, or SIM-only plans and get 5G data by only paying an extra €5 per month, provided they have a compatible 5G handset, of course, while more expensive deals already come with 5G-ready data.

Take a look at some of the deals available below.

Prepay

Cost

Data

EU data

Call minutes

Int. mins

Texts

5G cost

3 Prepay 15

€15

1GB

1GB (ROI & EU)

Unlimited

None

60

+€5

3 Prepay 20

€20

All you can eat

11GB

Unlimited Three calls / 60 minutes to other networks

None

Unlimited

+€5

3 Prepay 30

€30

All you can eat

17GB

Unlimited

30

Unlimited

+€5

Prepay plans are perfect for those who’ve bought an unlocked 5G phone outright and want all the advantages that 5G data provides without having to be locked into a contract.

As you can see above Three allows customers to add 5G for an extra five euro. So someone who already owns a 5G phone can sign up for €240 for the first year.

Prepay plans give customers more flexibility in terms of contract length, call minutes and data, for example. However, some people may prefer bill pay as it provides higher allowances. That being said, prepay customers can avail of unlimited 5G data on prepay for €25 per month or €300 per year, and all on a rolling contract.

If you're looking for a much bigger allowance of 5G data and or minutes/texts you can take a look at Three’s bill pay plans in this table.

Bill pay

Cost

Data

EU data

Call minutes

Int. mins

Texts

5G cost

3 Bill Pay 100

€35

All you can eat

14GB

100

-

100

+€5

3 Bill Pay 300

€45

All you can eat

14GB

300

30 mins/texts

300


+€5

3 Bill Pay Unlimited

€60

All you can eat

19GB

Unlimited

300 mins/texts

Unlimited

No cost/5G enabled

3 Bill Pay Unlimited Plus

€80

All you can eat

23GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

No cost/5G enabled

As can be seen above, Three’s bill pay plans are more expensive than its prepay, but what bill pay plans offer is a discount off your new phone, in this case a 5G compatible iPhone 12 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for example, or whichever 5G phone is available.

With 3 Bill Pay 100, for example, customers can get unlimited 5G data, 14GB EU roaming data, including 100 minutes and 100 texts for €40 per month. 

Three customers who sign up to any one of its plans will also be able to avail of Three's 3Plus rewards scheme with discounts on cinema tickets, early access to concert tickets, and more available!

Customers should be aware that all bill pay plans from Three come on a 24-month contract so that should also be taken into consideration before putting pen to paper.

As well as its prepay and bill pay offering customers can also sign up to a Bill Pay SIM-only plan with Three. As we discussed in our previous blog which looked at some of the best SIM-only deals available right now, SIM-only plans provide customers with brilliant value for money.

Three has three different SIM-only plans currently available, with two plans on a 12 month contract and offering a discount for the first six months.

While Three’s SIM-only deal with 5G (rolling contract) is more expensive than the average one coming in at €35 per month, customers can currently get a discount of €25 for six months if you choose its '3 Bill Pay Unlimited SIM-only 12m' offer. This will get you 5G data, an hour of international call minutes/texts, as well as a respectable EU data allowance of 19GB. However it is on a 12 month contract.

It's also worth mentioning that Three's SIM-only service is only available for use with your handset and is not to be used in a modem for home broadband, with the exception of Three customers who have subscribed to a Three handset and Tablet bundle.

Take a look at the SIM-only plans currently on offer below.

SIM-only

Cost

Data

EU data

Calls

Int. mins

Texts

5G cost

Bill Pay Unlimited SIM-only (12 month)

€20 for 6 months, €30 thereafter 

All you can eat

19GB

Unlimited

60 mins/texts

Unlimited

+€5

Bill Pay Unlimited SIM-only (12 month)

€30 for 6 months, €40 thereafter

All you can eat

23GB

Unlimited

300 mins/texts

Unlimited

5G enabled

Bill Pay Unlimited SIM-only

€30 30 day rolling contract

All you can eat

19GB

Unlimited

60 mins/texts

Unlimited

+€5

Cheapest 5G plan for 12 months: 3 Prepay 15, €240

Eir

Next up is none other than Eir which boasts Ireland’s largest 5G network, offering 5G coverage to over 55% of the population.

Eir also offers 5G services in every county in Ireland, including 239 towns and cities across the country.

For those looking to avail of 5G mobile data services from Eir, it doesn’t offer 5G on prepay at the moment, but you can sign up for 5G on a bill pay or SIM-only plan.

Bill pay

Cost

Data

EU data

Calls

Int. mins

Texts

Mobile essential

€39.99

20GB 5G

13.6GB

200 mins

None

Unlimited

Mobile connect plus

€59.99

No limits 5G

40GB

Unlimited

100 mins/texts

Unlimited

Mobile complete

€69.99

No limits 5G

60GB

Unlimited

600 mins/texts

Unlimited

Similar to the other mobile networks, customers can purchase a brand new 5G phone with Eir at a discount and sign up to one of its bill pay plans. As can be seen in the table, Eir is offering two plans with unlimited 5G data per month for €59.99 and €69.99 respectively.

Which plan you choose will depend on a number of factors, such as the call allowance on offer, as well as your budget. And if you’re a heavy data user choosing an unlimited plan over say the mobile essential which offers 20GB 5G data might also be wise, especially if you want to make use of your 5G.

Choosing a more expensive bill pay plan with Eir will also give you a larger allotment of international minutes and texts so if this is important to you then perhaps mobile connect plus or mobile complete would be more up your alley.

As well as its 5G data offering across all bill pay plans, Eir is also offering any bill pay customer access to the Eir Sport pack on their mobile, completely free.

All bill pay plans from Eir come on a 24-month contract, which is pretty much standard these days across all networks.

SIM-only

Cost

Data

EU data

Calls

Int. mins

Texts

Mobile complete

€19.99 - €34.99 after 12 months

No limits 5G data

50GB

Unlimited

200 mins/texts

Unlimited

When it comes to its SIM-only offering Eir is providing no limits 5G data. This deal is currently on offer for only €19.99 per month for the first 12 months, reverting to €34.99 thereafter.

As it’s a SIM-only plan customers will be on a rolling 30-day contract and can cancel at anytime, but to avail of the 12-month discount it will obviously be necessary to stay for the year.

As well as offering no limits 5G data with this plan, Eir is also offering a generous 50GB EU roaming data and 200 minutes of international minutes and texts and all for the discounted price of only €20 per month for the year, which means customers could get access to a 5G service for €240 for 12 months.

While this SIM-only plan is heavily discounted it does require customers to already have a 5G phone, so if you’re not thinking of purchasing a mobile outright then this plan might be for you.

Cheapest 5G plan for 12 months: Eir mobile complete, €240. 

Vodafone

The third and final provider that offers 5G for mobile customers is of course Vodafone, with its 5G network now live in parts of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Galway.

As it stands Vodafone has three separate plans for customers where it's possible to make use of 5G.

Take a look at the 5G enabled bill pay plans below!

Bill pay

Cost

Data

EU data

Calls

Int. mins

Texts

RED Unlimited

€60

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited, +EU calls

100 mins/texts

Unlimited

RED Unlimited Max

€80

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited, +EU calls, +selected countries

500 mins/texts

Unlimited

If you’re buying a 5G phone with Vodafone you have two options when it comes to bill pay plans, its RED Unlimited plan or RED Unlimited Max.

Both plans importantly offer unlimited 5G ready data, but also unlimited calls and texts to any Irish mobile or landline, not to mention calls and texts to European mobiles and landlines.

However, Vodafone’s €80 plan also offers calls to select international countries such as Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico, plus an additional allocation of 500 minutes and texts to other international countries.

When it comes to data, each plan also offers unlimited access when roaming anywhere in the EU.

While it’s obvious that Vodafone’s bill pay plans are generally a little more expensive than the rest, these may suit those customers who’d like a big discount on their handset and are prepared to pay a little more each month. For example, at the moment customers who sign up to its RED Unlimited plan for €60 could get the iPhone 12 for as little as €249.99.

As well as its top network and almost unlimited everything with both plans, Vodafone customers will also have access to Vodafone’s weekly rewards programme called Fantastic Days where it’s possible to win gifts, as well as receive discount codes for promotional products.

Both bill pay plans come on a 24 month contract similar to the other providers.

SIM-only

Cost

Data

EU data

Calls

Int. mins

Texts

RED Unlimited Max Sim Only

€35 for 6 months, €45 thereafter

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

500 mins/texts

Unlimited

Vodafone’s SIM-only offering also comes ready with unlimited 5G data, and for €35 for the first six months and €45 thereafter. 

And while it’s not as cheap as Eir or Three's SIM-only offering, customers have unlimited calls and texts to mobiles and landlines in Europe, Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico, plus 500 minutes and texts to other international countries.

Before signing up to any one of Vodafone’s 5G ready plans, make sure you’re aware of the cost, the contract duration as well as whether or not the phone you’re buying or the one you own is 5G enabled.

Vodafone’s plans are tailored toward heavy mobile and data users so make sure you’re happy with what you’re paying for before signing up as there might be a better deal available for your needs.

Cheapest 5G plan for 12 months: €480

Get in touch!

Are you curious to know more about 5G and its rollout? If you have any questions about the latest technology or the best plans to choose you can leave us a question in the comments below.

You can also get in touch with us with any personal finance questions via one of our social media pages. We're on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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