Find The Best SIM Only Deals In Ireland Right Now | July 2024

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This is for information only. Pricing is correct as of 15 June 2024. Please see network provider websites for the latest prices, connection types, fees and detailed terms and conditions.

I’ve stood back and looked at the Irish SIM-only market over the past few years and the gloves have come off. First of all, Eir’s GOMO network really kicked things off with their Ryanair-style approach to SIM-only plans. Three’s 48 was next in line while Vodafone recently launched Clear Mobile to take the two on. So, if you’re in the market right now for a new SIM-only plan, which network should you go with? I’m going to show you the best value on the market today and a little further down the page, I’ll tell you why these SIM-only plans can probably save you money.

How We Calculate SIM-only Value

Calculating the value of a SIM-only plan is fairly simple. The primary thing I’m looking at is the price over 12 months. This means I can also cater for 6-month introductory offers and things like that. I’ll also include what you get for your money. This means you’ll have both the price and what you get for your money. Value is very subjective, so I think this is the fairest way to go.

The cheapest operators mentioned here all offer unlimited calls and texts within Ireland. A fair usage usually applies but it’s so generous you won’t need to worry about it.

48 – Ireland’s Cheapest SIM-only Plan with 5G

Monthly: €12.99

Activation Fee: €12.99 but second month free

12-month price: €155.88

Year Two Cost: €155.88

48 is Three’s value-focused network. Originally, 48 targeted people between the age of 18 to 22, but this is just who the brand targeted. It was never a rule that was enforced. Today, 48 still targets the youth market while also being Three’s value network to take on Eir’s GOMO and Vodafone’s Clear Mobile.

48’s big plan is €12.99. The big advantage here over the likes of Virgin Media is that your plan will be €12.99 for life. So year two with 48 will cost €155.88 too instead of the price going up like Virgin Media’s price does.

48 now offers 5G for free to all customers on this plan. This makes them Ireland’s cheapest SIM-only plan with 5G, consistently.

On 48’s €12.99 plan, you get 200GB of data, all calls, and all texts. If roaming in the EU, you’ll have 14GB of data to use. This is taken out of your 200GB. You also get your second month free which negates the connection fee.

Another nice thing that 48 offers is a free trial of their network. You can order a free SIM online which will let you try out 1GB of data without any risk. Unique to 48 is also the ability to save, share or donate excess data that you don’t use, which means you can even donate 50c per 1GB you don’t use to charity.

This is for: Shoppers looking for value and Ireland’s cheapest mobile plan who know they’ll forget to shop around again. Value seekers who like to try before they buy, removing risk.

48 cheapest plan in ireland

Lyca Mobile – Ireland’s Cheapest SIM-Only Plan for 12 Months

Monthly: €10 for 12 months

Activation Fee: €0

12-month cost: €120

Year Two Cost: €240

I can’t ignore Lyca Mobile anymore when it comes to offering value in the Irish SIM-only market. Lyca Mobile now offers 5G and is technically Ireland’s cheapest mobile plan at just €10 per month. It’s a worthy opponent to 48’s offering and just misses out due to the longevity of value Lyca Mobile gives.

What I mean by that is that while 48’s €12.99 is a lifetime offer, Lyca Mobile’s €10 per month price is normally €20 per month. That 50% discount is for the first 12 months. This means in year two, your annual cost shoots up to €240 in year two.

However, at €10 per month including 5G, and unlimited everything with a sprinkling of international calls, I do have to mention it. Just remind yourself to switch in 12 months if there’s something better on the market. You also only get this €10 per month offer it you activate automatic renewal and if your payment fails, you will lose the offer.

If you’re into some tech novelty or are looking for the best SIM card to get when travelling to Ireland, Lyca Mobile also offers eSIM.

This is for: You’re looking for the outright cheapest plan right now and do some international calls. Maybe you’re running a side hustle and need a cheap “business number”.

Virgin Media

Monthly Price: €20 for 12 months then €25 in year two

Activation Fee: None

12-month price: €240

Year Two Cost: €300

Virgin Media’s offers make them a tricky customer. Their prices fluctuate regularly and often change after a few months of an introductory offer. They were previously the cheapest plan in Ireland. While they still are for the introductory period, they become quite expensive when that ends.

Right now, whether you are an existing Virgin Media customer or not, you can get a Virgin Media SIM-only plan for €20 per month. This includes unlimited calls, texts and data. For Virgin Media, their unlimited truly means unlimited these days too.

Virgin Media runs on the Three network and while you will only be able to get 4G it’s a fantastic offering right now. A big “but” here is coming. After 12 months, your monthly plan will increase to €25 per month. This means your first year with Virgin Media Mobile is €240 but year two is €300. So remember to shop around again in 12 months’ time.

This is for: If you’re a Virgin Media broadband or TV customer, that 12 month price is standard. If you add multiple accounts, the price drops as low as €15 per month. It’s still not best in market though.

Clear Mobile

Monthly Price: €14.99

Activation Fee: €14.99 but first month free

12-month price: €179.88

Year Two Cost: €179.88

Doing things a little differently is Clear Mobile. Earlier I compared GOMO to Ryanair, but truly this title now rests with Clear Mobile. Their own website even says “cherry not included”.

Clear Mobile is a €12.99 per month plan. There’s also a €12.99 connection fee but your first month is free. That effectively gives you an annual cost of €155.88 in your first year.

One of the network’s big differences is that Clear Mobile sidesteps being unable to use the word “unlimited” by offering genuinely unlimited quantities of data download. It’s only a matter of time until they are pulled up on this because the data is limited, just not in the way the Irish market traditionally does it. Instead of giving you a data quantity cap, Clear Mobile limited your internet speed to 5Mbps.

For some multitasking users, that will simply be too slow, but don’t let it put you off completely. Netflix recommends 5Mbps as the minimum speed required to stream HD content, so Clear Mobile arriving at that speed limit is no accident. At the same time, I wouldn’t like to be living so on the edge of minimum requirements, especially if I ever have to hotspot or tether my phone for work.

Clear Mobile had toyed with different pricing based on the network you’re joining from, but right now it’s €12.99 for everyone.

This is for: Patient people who stream over 40 hours of HD Netflix videos per month without WiFi.


Monthly Price: €14.99

Activation Fee: €14.99 but first month free

12-month price: €179.98

Year Two Cost: €179.88

GOMO was the network that really kicked the price war off between the three major sub-brands of Eir, Three and Vodafone. Previously, GOMO had the cheapest plan in Ireland, but they must now sit in third place. On top of the €14.99 monthly fee for your plan, there’s also a €14.99 connection fee which gets added to the first 12 months. The connection fee is a fairly annoying part of the deal. While this suggests there’s a cost associated with creating an account, the connection fee always matches the monthly fee so it really is just another way for GOMO to make some money.

GOMO does have one advantage for heavier data users versus both 48 and Clear Mobile as they offer 20GB more data per month than 48 and 4G speeds as opposed to Clear Mobile’s restricted 5Mbps.

If you’re going travelling in Europe, GOMO lets you use your full allowance of calls and texts while roaming in the EU along with 10GB of data per month. That 10GB does get taken out of your overall 120GB.

This is for: Someone who knows they need 120GB of data and or who tried 48’s free SIM and didn’t like it.

Ireland SIM-only Plan Comparison

There are other networks out there. For a small country, Ireland has quite a few operators on the market. But, regardless of who you pick from the lot, you will still be connecting to either the Eir, Three or Vodafone mobile network. Below is a full comparison of Ireland’s mobile networks and the base operator you’ll be connecting with.

ProviderMonthlyBase NetworkOffer12-month costDataSpeed
48€12.99 ThreeNo€155.88 200GBUp to 100Mbps
Gomo€14.99 EirFirst month free€194.87120GBUp to 100Mbps
Clear Mobile€14.99 VodafoneFirst month free€194.87 UnlimitedUp to 5Mbps
Lyca Mobile€20 Three50% off €12060GBUp to 100Mbps
Virgin Mobile€25Three€5 off first 12 months€24080GBUp to 100Mbps
Tesco Mobile€20ThreeDouble data with Clubcard€240100GBUp to 100Mbps
Comparison of Ireland’s Cheapest SIM-only Deals Right Now | *Clear Mobile price dependent on joining conditions outlined in article

Why Choose SIM-only?

There are loads of reasons why people end up buying SIM-only plans. Most of the time, it’s because you’ve been given a phone from someone else or bought an unlocked phone directly from a shop or manufacturer like Apple and just need a SIM card. You should always do the maths before you commit to a contract. Irish networks will offer you phones, sometimes without charging upfront, to get you into a 24-month contract. It’s often cheaper to buy the phone outright yourself from somewhere like Apple and grab a SIM-only connection.

Ireland’s Cheapest SIM-Only Plans: Frequently Asked Questions

We’re often asked questions about picking plans on our Twitter or other social pages. Here are some of the most asked questions we’ve come across when it comes to picking your new network.

Why would anyone pick Eir, Three or Vodafone over GOMO, 48 or Clear Mobile?

The “home networks” like Eir, Three or Vodafone might suit better if you are looking for some of the frills with a network. This might include your need for a new phone to be paid off over the duration of a contract, access to 5G mobile internet or special offer bundles like home TV and Broadband. Another example is loyalty programmes are often reserved for the main network.

Is GOMO as fast as Eir?

Technically, GOMO 4G and Eir 4G should be as fast as each other. Some things like the number of people using the network in an area might influence this. One big difference is that Eir also offers 5G, so if you have a 5G phone and are in a 5G area, you will be able to enjoy very fast mobile internet. But 4G is more than enough for most.

Is Clear Mobile as fast as Vodafone?

No. This is where Clear Mobile is very different to the other discount networks. 48 and GOMO offer 4G internet without a speed restriction. Clear Mobile does limit your speed to 5Mbps which is slower than the Vodafone network and the other discount networks. Remember though, speed always depends on where you are and 5Mbps is still fast enough to watch Netflix.

Is the 48 network as good as the Three network?

Like GOMO and Eir, there’s no real technical reason for there to be any difference between the 48 and Three network. Again, one exception is that Three does offer the option of 5G which means very fast mobile internet.

Why choose SIM-only?

If you already have a phone and just need a connection, then SIM-only offers a great bit of value. Even if you need a new phone, check out how much you would spend over 24 months getting a network contract versus buying the phone outright and getting a SIM-only deal.

What network are the discount networks based on?

48, Virgin Mobile, Lyca Mobile and Tesco Mobile all use the Three network. GOMO uses Eir while Clear Mobile runs on the Vodafone network.

What is Ireland’s cheapest SIM-only plan?

Right now, Virgin Media offers Ireland’s cheapest plan for the best value. It’s €10 per month which is €120 per year. But that’s just the first year. Remember the plan does increase to €25 per month in year two.

What are connection fees?

Connection fees are an initial charge from some networks for you to join their network. It’s usually the same fee as one month’s rental. So if your plan is €14.99 the network will likely charge you a €14.99 fee, making the total cost of joining €29.98.

Why do networks have connection fees?

These plans are really cheap in a competitive market. By adding connection fees, networks are trying to discourage you from changing networks regularly.

What about Lyca Mobile?

From time to time Lyca Mobile may actually be the cheapest network to avail of in Ireland. They also offer eSIM. They are hard to get in touch with if something goes wrong though, so we generally don’t recommend them on that basis.

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Founding Editor of Goosed, Marty is a massive fan of tech making life easier. You'll often find him testing something new, brewing beer or finding some new foodie spots in Dublin, Ireland. - Find me on Threads