What mobile networks operate in Ireland?
There are three main Irish network operators:
All the other mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) run services using one of the three main networks:
- An Post: uses Vodafone’s network
- Clear Mobile: uses Vodafone’s network
- GoMo: uses eir’s network
- Lycamobile: uses Three’s network
- Tesco Mobile: uses Three’s network
- Virgin Mobile: uses Three’s network
- 48: uses Three’s network
You’re likely to get the same coverage from these MVNOs as the network they’re run off. So, it’s worth shopping around to find a deal that works best for you and your location.
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Which network has the best mobile coverage?
ComReg (The Commission for Communications Regulation) has created an outdoor mobile coverage map that makes it easy to check coverage and signal levels of all the networks at your Eircode.
Results aren’t guaranteed and it’s based on outdoor coverage which may be different from inside your home or office.
You can also check 2G (calls and texts), 3G (calls, texts and data), 4G (calls and data) coverage. This is useful if you use your phone as much for data as for calls.
Check what the coverage is like where you live or work, wherever you use your phone the most.
Why do some areas have poor network coverage?
Vodafone, Three and Eir, offer up to 99% 4G population coverage in Ireland, but this still leaves some people struggling for a good mobile connection.
There are lots of factors that affect mobile coverage, some of these include:
- Your handset: and how well it performs with calls and data. The higher the TR/P (Total Radiated Power), the better the reception.
- Building materials: used in walls and insulation can affect signal strength. You can use WiFi call or mobile phone repeaters to increase signal.
- Terrain: like mountains and valleys tend to be blackspots as they’re more remote.
- Number of people: using their mobiles at the same time and location. The higher the volume, the slower the connection.
- Density of the network: depends on how many base stations there are in an area.
- Distance from the base station: The signal has to pass from you to the connecting base station so the closer you are, the better the signal.
What about 5G coverage?
If you’re looking to pick up the pace, 5G offers speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G but it’s not yet widely available in Ireland.
To find out if it’s been rolled out in your area, you can use this coverage map to check all three networks, or go to each directly:
You can find out more about the benefits of 5G and whether it’s right for you in our guide: What’s so good about 5G mobile?
How to decide which network to choose
Here are a few things to help you get started:
- Enter your Eircode in the outdoor mobile coverage map to check which network signal is the strongest
- Check the 5G coverage in your area if you’re looking for a faster service
- Consider where you use the phone most, for example, you may need to check coverage at your office
- Consider what you use the phone for most, for example calls or data
- Ask for recommendations from family, friends and neighbours living in the same area
- If you are in a known blackspot, make sure your handset has a high TRP
Don’t forget about the MVNO’s that operate off the three main networks as this will open up more deals to choose from.
What to do if you choose the wrong network
If you find that the coverage is poor when you switch provider, you should be protected by a 14 day cooling off period. Always check the full terms before signing up.
Vodafone offers a network satisfaction guarantee so you can cancel within 30 days and get your money back.
There are also plenty of 30 day SIM-only plans that give you the chance to experience a new network’s coverage before committing to a longer term contract.
Get a SIM only deal with the calls, texts and data you need for less.
It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving.