Switching to a SIM-only deal
With a SIM-only deal, your monthly bills will be lower, as you only pay for your calls, text and data allowance, and not your handset. There are SIM-only plans to suit every type of phone user.
If you use a lot of data
For many people, a deal with a high allowance for data is crucial nowadays, as it means never having to go without your favourite apps, and always having access to the internet when you’re on the move. This plan from Tesco Mobile offers 20GB of data per month - the average person uses just 5-6GB of data per month, so this should satisfy even the most avid smartphone addict.
If texts are most important
If you’re more into using your phone for traditional text messages, this plan from eir Mobile might work for you. It comes with unlimited texts, so you’ll never have to worry about overdoing it.
If you don’t want any limits
Meanwhile, if you don’t want to worry about being restricted with your phone usage at all, an unlimited deal will be the best bet for you. This deal from Virgin Mobile comes with unlimited calls, texts and data. And, if you’re a current Virgin Mobile customer, you’ll get a discount, too!
Things to consider before switching to a SIM-only deal
Am I free to switch?
If you got a phone as part of your current mobile phone deal, the chances are you would have had a contract that was 12-24 months long. If you’re not sure when you signed up, your current provider will be able to tell you if you are out of contract and, once you know you are, you can start shopping around for a new deal.
Early exit fees for mobile phone contracts can be punitive - sometimes requiring you to pay off the cost for the months remaining on your plan - so don’t get caught out.
Can I keep my mobile number?
Yes, this is called ‘porting’ your number and is a huge benefit - it means you won’t have to communicate a new number to all your contacts. Your new provider can sort out moving your old number to your new network when you’re signing up.
Can I use my current SIM card?
If you switch to a SIM-only deal with your existing provider, you can keep your current SIM, however if you move to a new network, you will need to get a new SIM card. Your new mobile phone operator will provide this to you.
What network should I go with?
In Ireland, the three main networks are eir, Three and Vodafone. All of the other operators, including Lycamobile, Tesco Mobile, and Virgin Mobile, use one of these main networks to provide their customers with phone service.
So, if you have decent coverage with Three, for example, you will get very similar coverage from Virgin Mobile, who run off the same network.
You can read more about this in our dedicated guide to mobile phone coverage in Ireland.
When I change network, what happens?
When you’re comparing deals, you may find that the best plans are available from a different provider. Don’t panic! Switching mobile phone network is actually relatively straightforward and your new provider will help you with this.
In terms of practicalities, all that will happen when you change network is that you’ll see a new provider’s name on your phone, and on your bills. You may also experience slight differences in mobile phone coverage, depending on who you switch from and to.
Will I lose signal when I switch?
You’ll normally have downtime of about an hour between changing networks - you’ll notice your coverage will disappear on your old SIM, at which point you should start to use your new SIM.
Switch to a SIM-only deal and save
Remember, if you’ve paid off your phone - and are still happy with your handset - you’ll make a saving by switching to a SIM-only deal.
If you’re out of contract, you can also move to a SIM-only deal with your current provider, rather than rolling on your contract which includes the cost of your handset - this will knock a good chunk off your monthly payments.