Cheapest Prepay Mobile Charges Ireland

Which mobile provider has the Cheapest Prepay Mobile Charges in Ireland  ?
Updated April 2017

In 2016 the average spend per mobile customer in Ireland was €25.10 a month or  €301 a year . Pre-paid mobile phone customers in Ireland spent half as much as bill pay customers  – with average monthly prepay charges of €15.44 compared to a  €34.94 monthly average for bill pay mobile customers.

About half of all  mobile phone users in Ireland  use Pre-Pay or “Pay as You Go” mobile plans  (PAYG)

It can be very easy to  lose track of just how much your prepaid phone usage is costing you. If you just keep getting  €10 or €20 Euro top ups at the supermarket or garage those amounts can soon mount up.

If you are regularly spending over €30 a month on your billpay or prepay mobile phone charges – you should be looking into changing your provider or your plan. You can get a cheaper deal.

Summary of the Cheapest Prepay Mobile Plans

These are prepay “bundles” – they usually last for a month or 4 weeks than you have to top up again.
(If you just want real pay as you go – have a look at our page on the lowest pre-pay call costs )

Currently – one of the best value pre-pay plans or bundles  is from  Lycamobile : for just €15 a month you get a bundlle that includes   30Gb Data , Unlimited  Texts and Unlimited calls to all mobiles and landlines in Ireland. (“Unlimited” is actually 8000 mins and 8000 texts a month – which should be more than enough.)  (Note – Internet is  3G).
They are running a special half price offer for new customers – so it is currently  just €7.50 for the first month. It also includes free roaming in 18 countries including USA , UK and Australia. (Calls and texts only).
Lycamobile  also have a good Top Up offer – that gets you 10Gb of data and unlimited calls for a month to any network for €15 – and you get to keep the €15  credit. So you could use this €15 credit the following month to buy the bundle mentioned above (30gb data plus unlimited calls and texts) . If you keep doing this – you can get an average of 20Gb data per month and unlimited calls for €7.50 per month.
Lycamobile  use the old O2 network – (the same as Tesco and 48 Months ) which is reported to have patchy coverage  in some rural areas .
You can Order a free SIM here at the Lycamobile site


Tesco Mobile have a €15 top up deal that gets you unlimited calls  , 10Gb of data and you can keep  the €15 credit to buy unlimited texts (€10). Opt in text required to get this offer. (Tesco use the old O2 network)


Another good pre-pay deal is from  48 Months. They also use the old O2  network and for  €20 a month “membership” you get unlimited texts , 1000 minutes of calls to any Irish mobile network , 60 minutes to landlines and  8Gb of data. No credit carryover.
For just €10 a month you will get 1Gb plus 300 mins of mobile calls , 60 mins to landlines  and unlimited texts. 48Months is aimed at the 18 to 22 age group – but as far as we can see there is no request for ID or  proof of age.  You can order a Free Sim online here at the 48Months website


Meteor  also have a some pretty good Pay as You Go deals at the moment .  For a €20 monthly top up you get 15Gb of data  plus either unlimited texts or unlimited calls to all networks including landlines . (Fair usage 5000 mins and 5000 texts).  For  €30  a month top up  you get 15Gb of data  plus both unlimited texts and  unlimited calls to all networks . You need to opt in to these deals , they are not automatic.



Three 
have a bundle for  €20 that gets you get Unlimited data (60Gb) , unlimited texts to any network and free calls just  to phones on the Three network for 28 days You also get to keep the €20 creditwhich will only get you about  50 minutes of calls to other mobiles or landlines – which isn’t much for a month but it might do some people who use things like WhatsApp instead.

The newest Irish mobile provider is Id Mobile from Carphone Warehouse.  They also use the Three network  .They have a prepay bundle costing €15 a month which gets you  30Gb of data,  300 call minutes and you can spend the €15 on more calls or texts. (But – €15 would only get you 48 minutes of calls).
In our view – the Lycamobile  €15 bundle is better value with the same data , much more calls and texts and free roaming in 18 countries.


Vodafone have a €20 bundle of unlimited calls and texts plus 1GB data


Coverage – especially for internet – can vary across different providers in different parts of the country. Rural areas usually have poorer coverage . You probably shouldn’t be relying on mobile phone internet in rural areas of Ireland  for heavy usage such as video or music streaming.


See our article about  Lowest Prepay Data Charges on Mobiles in Ireland

Take a look at our page about the  Best SIM only Plans Ireland

Mobile Companies  Revenue : According to COMREG  – the combined retail revenue of the mobile phone companies  in Ireland was over €1.5 Billion Euro  in 2015.  That income was generated by about 6 billion text messages and over 12 billion voice minutes from  5.8 million mobile phones. (There are more mobile phones in Ireland than people!)

Figures and prices checked April 2017

67 thoughts on “Cheapest Prepay Mobile Charges Ireland

  1. Hey Money Guide Ireland

    Just wanna say THANKS for the best site since i moved to this wonderful country , because of this site i’ve allready changed my bank and made much more better financial decisions

    Thanks

  2. Hi
    I was thinking of getting the lycamobile ireland plus package.What does lycamobile unlimited national text and national calls mean. Can you ring or text free to any mobile or landlines in ireland and does it use 3g or 4g
    chris

    • “unlimited national text and national calls ” means all irish landline and mobiles.
      For data – it is currently 3G.

      Thanks

    • Read reviews about lycamobile first!!! They don’t sound good. I was about to move but change my mind 🙂

      • You will find bad reviews about all the providers if you look. There have been several recent good mentions of them on boards.ie . Maybe get a SIM and load it with just €5 to give it a try. (Don’t swap your number over at this stage) .

  3. YOUR R4ECOMMENDATION OF LYCAMOBLIE IS MISLEADING. IF YO C TO THE SITE IT IS ONLY LYCA TO LYCA MOBILE CALLS THAT ARE FREE., SLOPPY RESEARCH ON YOUR PART..

    • Hi Christopher
      The Lycamobile €15 Bundle includes unlimited (8000 mins) calls to all mobile networks and landlines in Ireland.
      I can see why you might be confused – because their website also mentions “Unlimited Lyca to Lyca calls” – . Not sure why they mention this separately if all calls are unlimited. But you can be assured that our research is not “sloppy” and all calls to all networks are included in the Lycamobile “Ireland Plus ” bundle which is currently €15 for 30 days.
      Thanks

  4. Hello, is it possible to make a lycamobile sim in a store or only order by internet?

  5. Moneyguideireland says one of the best value prepay options is from Lycamobile package for €15
    And lists unlimited calls to all networks and landlines
    When I went to the Lycamobile link provided it states free national calls and free texts but no mention of free mobile to mobile calls other than Lyca to Lyca
    Can anyone clear this up?

    • “free national calls” means free calls to all mobile networks and landlines.
      They specify free calls to Lyca too – which I agree is confusing because they would be already included in “unlimited national calls”.

    • Hi – As part of the Tesco Simply prepay plan, is the unlimited texts to all mobile networks or to the Tesco mobile network only?

      • The Tesco Simply prepay does not include any texts. You can buy an add on of unlimited texts which are to any network for €10

  6. Hi,

    Can you recommend the best bill pay deal with a phone on a reliable network. Looking to spend around 40 euro a month.

    Thanks

  7. Can you let me know if other companies do the same as Three does with their customers by not alerting when your top ups and ad-ons is about to finish or just finished and. without noticing, they start to take money from your account? That has been making me spend as much extra money as I do for my monthly pre paid plan. Thanks.

  8. Hi I am 68 years old and am a bit confused in general about the use of mobiles (other than straight forward use of texting and making phone calls) and SIMS. I have a HUAWEI mobile phone which is prepay of €20 on the same date every month.and have a monthly contract I understand they have recently changed to charging per minute for phone calls. I would like to know a) can I use the same phone with a Lycamobile Sim, b) is it topped up on the same day every month and c) is there a site where I can increase my knowledge of mobile phones in general.

    • Hi Sinead
      You can use the same phone with Lycamobile. You can also keep your number – but it won’t be automatically done – you will have to request it (probably online). The €15 bundle you get with Lycamobile will expire after 30 days – so it will need to be bought again every 30 days if you want it to be continuous.

    • Hi Peadar- sorry for the late reply. You can port you existing mobile number to Lycamobile. In fact they give €10 free credit if you do that.

  9. I’m thinking of changing from 3 because their coverage is so bad at the moment. Looks like a lot of other companies use their network, so no point in changing to any of them. It’s beginning to look like a monopoly.

    • Tesco and Lyca are on the old O2 network (owned and operated by Three but separate masts etc and no 4G).

      ID are on the Three network. (Coverage is the same as Three.)

  10. I joined lycomobile a week ago and have no service of any kind today – beware

  11. Hello Money Guide Ireland,
    Great article 🙂
    I just wanted to inquire if there was a company who provided Mobile data where , for example, you pay 10 euro and get 5gb of data which Doesnt expire after a month. So you wouldnt have to pay the 10 euro each month. Feel free to email me: Aidansheridan17yt@gmail.com if you have any details 🙂
    Thanks for the help!
    Aidan

    • Hi Aidan – it looks like they all do “bundles” that expire. If you just want data irregularly – you might be best going for Tesco payg They charge 2c per MB – so that works out at about €20 for a GB . But you just pay for what you use as you use it. It could work out cheaper if you are not a heavy use of data. No need to make regular top ups.

  12. I don’t understand the Meteor Pay as you go offer you mention (15GB with unlimited texts and calls). Does that mean that if you switch your data usage you can use your phone for calls and texts for free?

    • The Meteor bundle includes free calls and texts and also 15Gb of data per month. I don’t understand your question.

  13. Hi ,

    Are there any sim only deals that include mobile calls to Northern Ireland mobiles pre- pay or bill pay?
    I am on meteor prepay sim only € 15 euro bundle and all calls/ texts to Northern Ireland are charged as extra. Also, even short texts attract two to three charges per text. They also charge VAT on top of their €15 monthly charge. Is this the same for other sim only deals?

    • I’m with Meteor prepay sim only €20 pm and cannot make calls to NI or U.K. or Sky or Electric Ireland unless I top up extra. Didn’t know this when I signed up also am only on it two weeks and already couldn’t upgrade my facebook app as they sent text telling me to use wifi even tho I have 15gb data monthly. I was with three and only reason I changed cos can’t verage wass so poor.

      • Most (if not all) mobile providers don’t include calls to NI/UK as part of prepaid bundles.
        The same applies to many of the 0810 1850 1890 numbers.
        Sky don’t seem to have any other numbers apart from 0818 – maybe try emailing them and ask them to call you?
        Electric Ireland have another number which should be included in your “free” call bundle and will not need extra top up –
        it is 01 8529534.
        Have a look for a SIM only deal that leaves you some of teh top up credit to use for calls. The meteor deal uses all the €20 and leaves you with nothing for extras.

  14. What is the most economical way of triggering a GSM controller (alarms etc., infrequent use) fitted with a SIM card and receiving SMS messages only? i.e. SIM card & rental options?

  15. To test the waters, I signed up for the Lycamobile 10 euro (3gb Data and 300 mins of calls) package .Benefit for me was that this also gives you international calls within the 300 mins.

    Its been about 2 weeks since joining and overall the service has been fine. Only issue with this one is you don’t get any text, but if you’re like me and use whatsapp or the likes, then you can work around this.

    I am tempted to step up to the 15 euro plan, but I won’t get my international calls, so I may well stick to my 10 euro option for now

  16. Important to note that 48 is useless to anyone who needs mobile data abroad. You cannot get it.

  17. Hi
    i am on a pay as you go contract with Three and they want to change this – as stated above.
    I only top up by about 20 Euro once every 3 months.
    I don’t have a smart phone (and don’t want one)

    what is currently my cheapest option?

  18. I am going a 10 day tour of Ireland with family. Everyone going has a smartphonel and providers in the USA, and will use their own various international plans (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint). I do not have a cell and want to be able to call and text the family members who are touring with me. What is the best option for me?

    • One option would be to do it the old fashioned way – and just arrange to meet in a pub at a certain time to chat. : )

    • You could pop into a Tesco supermarket and buy the cheapest phone they have and get a Tesco Mobile Pay as You Go SIM pre loaded with say €10 credit . They only charge 2c per minute for calls to USA mobiles and 14c for a text. (cheaper than calls in Ireland !) . You should be able to buy a basic (non smart) phone for €9.99.

  19. 48 gives you 15GB data for 15E membership. Not too bad, might be worth to include

  20. You can’t send picture messages or text 5**** text numbers with Lycamobile which is a real shame!

  21. Hi, i have been paying 30 euro for my mobile, with 3. Got text to say contract change and going up by 5.02 euro. Can they change contract? its bill pay. I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE MY LANDLINE ALSO AND HAVE BOTH ON 1 BILL.MY LANDLINE IS WITH VODAFONE AND COSTS ABOUT 55 MONTHLY FOR BROADBAND ALSO.BOTH TOGETHER ARE NEARLY 90. SURELY BETTER VALUE OUT THERE

    • You might not get the best deal by having it all on one bill – but maybe look into deals from Virgin if you are in one of the areas they cover – they do landline/broadband and mobile . See options on Switcher here
      Otherwise just look at our list of the best broadband deals here You can get anytime calls and 24Mb broadband unlimited for under €40 a month.

  22. You mentioned in a previous comment that (Money Guide on August 10, 2016 at 15:15 said: ) Tesco and Lyca are on the old O2 network (owned and operated by Three but separate masts etc and no 4G).

    ID are on the Three network. (Coverage is the same as Three.)

    What about 48? Are they on the old O2 network or on the Three network?

    I’m asking because I was on O2 until they changed to three and after they changed my coverage wasn’t great, so I switched to 48 and had reasonable coverage then switched to ID to avail of their 30Gb data but had very poor coverage so I switched back to 48. If I were to now switch to Lyca, would I be likely to have the poor coverage that I had on three and ID or the reasonable coverage I have on 48? Is it a case of I’ll have to try it to find out or.. ?

  23. If you go to Germany you can buy a German vodafone Call-Ya sim card. It will give you 4g Internet (1 GB) and Calls and SMS for 9.99 Euro. Roaming is free of charge!!! So you can call and surf in Ireland and any EU country, without any problem. The only problem – if you need people calling you, they need to ring a German number 🙁

    • Not really a viable option for the vast majority of people in Ireland !

  24. I have a non-smart mobile phone, which I am perfectly happy with. At present, I buy credit in advance and put it on the phone. I probably spend less than €10 a year on calls; I do not use text messages or data. However, I have enough credit to enable me to make more calls should an emergency require that.

    Three are now insisting that I give them €20 every 28 days, about €260 a year, and it seems that they would help themselves to the unused portion of that, say €250 a year. How can I avoid paying a large amount to Three, or any other provider, for services I do not want?

    bjg

    • Hi bjg
      There are plenty of people like you who just use a mobile now and again – who don’t want regular top ups or bundles.
      You can buy top ups at Lycamobile – and they don’t expire. They have the lowest prices for calls – You can buy a top up online or in shops. See other options here > http://www.moneyguideireland.com/low-cost-mobile-calls.html

      PS – are you sure Three are forcing you to buy €20 bundles each month? I don’t think they can do that.

  25. Sorry: that last message got garbled. Here (I hope) is a corrected version.

    =====
    I have great difficulty in working out exactly what Three intends. Its original message said:

    “CONTRACT CHANGE: Your current plan will retire + you’ll move to a new prepay plan between 29-31 May. The period for benefits linked to this plan will be 28 days, min EUR20 topup required. For all changes incl price increases + how to cancel your plan, see http://bit.ly/2oR96AE + use code F50697. If you don’t accept the changes you’ve the right to cancel your service within 30 days on or before 14May without penalty. Effective date between 29-31 May 17″

    I wrote to Three (a letter, by post) saying:

    “As far as I can see […]:
    • you intend to force all of your customers to give you at least €20 every 28 days, whether or not they need your services to that value
    • you do not want the custom of anyone who will not give you that amount.

    If that is what you mean, I would be grateful if you would confirm it and, if it isn’t, I would be glad if you would tell me what you do mean. And, if you do not want my custom, please tell me when I may expect a refund of the €108.01 that you owe me.”

    I received a reply that did not address any of my three queries. It included this:

    “The new proposed price plans gives benefits after €20.00 top up, for example, BeFree talk plan would give you unlimited calls to all Irish mobiles and landlines for €10.00 out of €20.00 top up for the next 28 days. However, this top up is not a requirement — out of the promotional period normal out of bundle rates would apply.”

    I have not the faintest idea what any of that is about. I tried searching for “BeFree” on three.ie but found no results. There is a page here http://www.three.ie/customer-agreement/phone/prepay/ that might be relevant but (a) it doesn’t mention BeFree and (b) I don’t understand it. The concept of a promotion, promotional period or promotional benefit seems to be important to Three, but I am not aware of having asked to participate.

    Sorry this is so long.

    bjg

    • You can , as far as I understand it, still top up by less than €20 and use that credit with Three for calls and the credit will not expire at the end of 30 days. If you are not happy with Three – as I mentioned before , why not switch to another provider with cheaper rates? (Lycamobile).

  26. In reality, only three mobile service providers (Id Mobile, Lycamobile and Tesco Mobile) are able to provide consumers with real Pre-Pay or “Pay as You Go” (PAYG) plans (you get to keep your credit and you can use it completely)!
    All other providers use this plan NAME (only), but in reality it is the same as the Bill plan (Pre-Pay Bill plans – without paper bills, but with “membership” payments!?)!!!
    Moreover, there is a very vague concept of the UNLIMITED: “Unlimited is actually 8000 mins” for Lycamobile, Unlimited with “Fair usage 10000 mins” for Tesco Mobile, Unlimited with “Fair usage 5000 mins” for Meteor, etc.?!
    There are clear signs of deliberate misrepresentation of consumers. But I do not understand why the COMREG does not see these obvious violations of the Consumer Rights Act?

    • COMREG is no doubt a very useful organisation … I imagine.

      I spent some time on its mobile phone price comparison page https://www.comreg.ie/price-comparison/mobile-phone/calculator/. Clicking on a specific product did not (as I had expected) bring me to the provider’s page about that product: it led instead to a general page about the provider with a link to its website, where I was unable to find the specific products of interest. The calculator omitted such providers as Lycamobile, ID and 48 and, most annoyingly, it concealed the fact that (as far as I could see) none of the listed providers offered a traditional prepay account: all of them demanded minimum monthly (or four-weekly) payments and, as far as I could see, helped themselves to any unused credit.

      I emailed Comreg, suggesting that the calculator was not quite up to date. The reply said:

      “Please note ComReg does not maintain the site in question. It is the Operator’s responsibility to update the site with the relevant information. We will be unable to assist you on this matter.”

      That was mildly surprising, given that the “site” is actually part of Comreg’s site. It seems, therefore, that Comreg is providing information that is not reliable, that it does not care and that it is happy that citizens should waste their time with its useless “calculator”.

      Oh, and its email came from its “consumer care” department.

      bjg

  27. 27th April.
    I’m with Meteor simplicity plan @ €30 per 30 days. Just got a text reducing time span to 28 days. Essentially this means that a year has become 11 months and if I don’t like I can push off.
    This type of customer gouging is rampant throughout retail pricing, but is not noted in inflation figures.

  28. Can you advise me. I am trying to get a PAYG for an elderly lady. She will use it only very rarely so I am looking for the cheapest option with the longest “non top up” period. It is possible that she will not us it more than a couple of times a year.
    Thanks

  29. I called Lycamobile and they said that the SIM will be de-activated after 120 days. I’ll look at Tesco.
    Thanks for the info.

    • Most providers will deactivate the SIM after a period of inactivity – Meteor , Vodafone , Tesco – they all do it. All you need to do is make a 5 second call every 3 months to avoid deactivation. They should send a text to warn you – so it should be hard to forget.

  30. Im currently with voodafone spending 100€/month as i get 500min of international calls and 16gb of 4g. Is there any pre pay that have similar offers ad-ons for internaltional (wich in eu) minutes and data?? Also with mobile insurance preferable.
    Thx

    • I assume that price includes a phone contract too? A couple of questions – Do you use the 500 minutes of international calls? Which countries do you mostly call ? Do you actually use 16Gb a month ?

  31. Arround 400minutes an avrg. And 10- 12 gb. Usualy Poland and Uk
    Thx

    • Lycamobile might be worth trying – If you top up €20 you get :
      Unlimited Calls to Irish Mobiles and landlines and 15GB Data for a month
      ou get to keep the €20 credit to use on other calls . They only charge 1c per minute to Polish landlines and mobiles. They charge 9c/min to UK mobiles. So for €20 you would get 2000 minutes to Poland or 222 minutes to UK mobiles.
      The data isn’t 4G and the coverage would not be as good as vodafone in some areas.
      You can order SIM here

      Get 20% Extra Credit*

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