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Here at BroadbandDeals.ie we spend a lot of time bringing the latest and greatest broadband deals on the Irish market. However, most of our time and effort is spent compiling lists of rusted and reliable providers and the broadband plans that they offer for homes and businesses across the country. Today we are going to explore the best sim-only broadband deals for Ireland’s consumers.
Nowadays it’s just as important if not even more important to have reliable and speedy internet access on the go as well as at your house or place of work. Whether you’re streaming music, playing games online, or getting vital work done that requires email access and the ability to view important documents while you’re out and about, having an affordable sim-only deal on a trusted network can make all the difference.
Let’s explore some of Ireland’s best sim-only broadband deals on the market today.
Launched in the Summer of 2005, Three Ireland has grown to become one of the country’s leading telecom and internet service providers. At the time, it entered the market as Ireland’s fourth mobile network operator alongside Vodafone, 02, and Meteor (now operating as eir).
Over the next two decades, Three Ireland has invested over €2 billion in building its brand (including a merger with 02 in 2015), and now enjoys a hefty 40% market share or over 3.3 million customers.
Three’s best sim-only offering at the minute is by far and away their 3Broadband Unlimited 4G Sim Only option on their website. This allows customers to add Three Broadband to their iPad, Tablet, or existing router for just €29.99/month for 24 months. Also, there’s no set up cost whatsoever. You simply insert the new sim card into your device, and you’ll automatically join their award-winning broadband network.
Vodafone has been a staple mobile network provider in Ireland for decades. Founded in 1984 as Eircell, it would later rebrand as Vodafone Ireland in May 2001. Nowadays Vodafone is a household name when it comes to broadband providers and holds a healthy 35% of the country’s market share, keeping in step with the likes of eir and Three.
Vodafone Broadband services are available throughout Ireland and regulated by Comreg. Like many of their competitors, they offer home broadband, mobile phone, SIM only contract deal options, home phone, and TV package deal options too.
Of course, in this article we are only interested in their sim only deals, the standout of which simply has to be their Vodafone RED range. Vodafone RED Unlimited SIM Only offers unlimited internet usage with download speeds of up to 10Mbps, unlimited european calls & texts, 100 International minutes & texts, all for €25/month for 6 months and €35/month thereafter.
There’s also a new 5G option which costs €10/month extra to access their most modern and high performing broadband network.
Founded in December 2005, Virgin Media Ireland currently stands as the largest digital cable television provider across the country. For the first ten years of trading, Virgin Media existed as Chorus NTL and UPC Ireland, focussing on TV output. Then, in December 2014 the company expanded into broadband internet, digital television, and mobile services, and would change its name in 2015 to Virgin Media.
Nowadays, Virgin Media has over 1 million customers across Ireland, providing top of the range broadband solutions to over 20% of the market. Earlier in 2022, the company announced plans to increase their broadband reach to 70% of Ireland's premises through a new partnership with Siro.
Virgin Media offer perhaps two of the most affordable and attractive sim-only deals on the Irish market today. Their Unlimited Virgin Mobile Plan offers unlimited minutes, texts, and data for €10/month rising to €25/month after the first year on a 30-day contract. You can also opt for the Virgin Mobile 5GB deal which offers 5GBs of data along with 500 minutes and 500 texts for €15/month with no rise after 12 months.
Our advice would be to opt for the unlimited option at €10/month for at least a year and then reassess your options.
Make sure you follow the BroadbandDeals blog for all the latest news, updates, and opinions on the world of Ireland’s broadband market.
A SIM only plan is the easiest and most straightforward of getting an offer for your
mobile phone. If you
don’t need or want a new mobile phone, but you wish to switch to a new carrier,
buying just a SIM card
can be the best solution. When picking a SIM-only deal, you will need to identify
which one is the right
one for you and your needs, especially if you wish to sign up on-the-go.
Once you have picked the best SIM or data plan for you, you can proceed to order or
pre-order your new
SIM card. The network will then send via mail to your address. Once inserted in your
mobile phone, you
are ready to go!
After committing to the SIM deal offered by a specific network, the SIM will always
be locked to that
network but unlocked from your mobile phone. Therefore, if you prefer to switch to a
new carrier or
purchase a new SIM in the future, you can do so easily.
Many networks offer a deal you can consider when opting for a SIM-only plan. While
they all have pros and
cons to consider, ultimately, the customer’s preferences and lifestyle are the most
critical factor to
keep in mind. The networks that offer the best ones are Vodafone, Lycamobile, GoMo, Virgin Media,
and Eir in Ireland.
A SIM-only contract is among the most affordable and accessible mobile phone deals in
networks work hard to retain their customers for as long as possible - so they will
offer you the best
deal to remain a loyal customer for several months.
A SIM-only contract, or a data-only SIM card contract, usually lasts one year or 12
months. However, you
will be able to find a long-term deal that can cover you for several years. You will
be able to find a
cheap deal that comes without any extra cost. However, if you are not comfortable
signing up for so
long, there are other options.
A 30-day contract, or a monthly SIM deal, is perfect if you are traveling to a
country or if you only
need a specific mobile phone plan for a limited amount of time. For example, if you
know that you won’t
be able to roam in a certain location, you might opt to use a SIM-only deal for a
month to get coverage
in that area. A tailored deal you can pay monthly, even if not including unlimited
texts, allows you to
remove and add data, roam time, and minutes are your convenience. Alternatively, you
unlimited data mobile deals.
A one-year and two-year sim card contract is also available and perfect for those
customers who are not
sure whether they prefer a long-term or short-term deal or unlimited plans. While
you might not have the
same flexibility to modify your bundle, GB data allowance, or other plan details
when on a monthly
contract, you will be able to enjoy a better deal.
If you know, you need much data, but you are not sure exactly how much, it is better
not to risk it.
Unlimited SIM only deals are the perfect way to have all of your needs covered. If
you know you will be
spending hours watching videos without broadband or a Wi-Fi connection, or you need
unlimited calls and
texts, this is the best option for you.
The SIM only deals to get unlimited minutes, roam time, and unlimited texts come from
networks such as
Vodafone, O2, Virgin Media, and EE, but checking smaller providers is also
An Ireland or GB data plan that doesn’t include calls, unlimited minutes, or texts is
a perfect choice if
you tend to roam a lot on your mobile phone or sometimes use much data instead of
broadband or Wi-Fi.
While SIM only deals can offer an unlimited data plan, you can sometimes top-up your
balance at your
If you prefer to prepay for your sim card, you might not be able to get unlimited
texts or unlimited
messages. However, you can also pay-as-you-go and top-up your balance when you need
it. Your monthly
usage and monthly cost will depend on how much data, texts, roam time, and minutes
you have used during
a certain period. This option is perfect if your usage is not even, and one month
might not use your
mobile phone number at all.
Especially if you opt for an unlimited data SIM, you can use your SIM only deal as a substitute for
broadband if you need to. However, unlimited plans and out-of-bundle offers give you the flexibility
that you would not have otherwise.
Remember that is you have decided to just pay for a SIM card and the data, roam time, and minutes that
come with it, you will not receive a mobile phone. Therefore, you might need to use your old one or buy
a new SIM-free phone. However, because of this, the deal will be more affordable, and you can still rely
on your unlimited data plan or unlimited minutes, even if a fair usage policy might apply.
Just like in the case of a standard contract, you can control your usage through an app, benefit from a
bundle option, and enjoy initiatives like “Roam Like Home.” If you have opted for an unlimited data SIM
deal from large networks like Tesco Mobile or Vodafone, you will hardly notice the difference from a
To switch, you can either order or pre-order a new SIM or eSIM. However, major companies like Vodafone
and Virgin Mobile offer options like text-to-switch or via an app that can streamline the process and
get you your unlimited contract deal in no time. As a new customer, you will then have to pick your
preferred deal, whether this includes paying for your monthly usage or opt for an unlimited data plan.
Major networks are more likely to offer their customers more generous unlimited contract SIM Only Deals.
If you are thinking of buying an unlimited data SIM to prepay or eSIM, some of the best networks are:
Becoming a customer of smaller companies, like Giffgaff, can also offer benefits. Indeed, they offer
unlimited mobile deals or SIMs that you can prepay. Often, a customer of such networks can benefit from
more personalized offers for unlimited data, roam, data allowance, all-you-can-eat, or mobile month
contracts. Of course, for unlimited data or call deals, fair usage policy might apply.
When you switch to a SIM deal, whether unlimited or to prepay, you can keep your mobile phone number.
However, if you wish to keep your mobile phone number, you might have to apply for that specifically.
Companies like Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, or Virgin Media offer step-by-step guidelines for this process.
A contract, even if unlimited, is likely to come with the burden of buying a phone. However, in many
cases, you might prefer to keep your old mobile phone and find a cheaper deal. Becoming a customer of
another network does not have to mean that you have to buy a new phone. Instead, SIM-only plans allow
you to pay only what you use or enjoy unlimited calls and unlimited data deal. All this, without the
need to spend money on a new phone.