Recommendations for Irish SIM card for American
January 25, 2014 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I will be traveling to Dublin, Ireland frequently in the next 6 mos - year and I need to find an appropriate SIM vendor. I have done a ton of research but I am still hamstrung in terms of concrete advice. Here is what I know: I have unlocked my old iPhone 4 for this purpose. My husband and I have AT&T for our stateside smartphone service. My mother has Verizon (my preschooler will be with her). I will use the phone to call my husband and daughter nightly (probably two separate calls) and I will want some data coverage for navigation, texting, etc. I would prefer not to initiate any kind of contract until after the first trip. Any recommendations? TIA.
posted by wildeepdotorg to Technology (6 answers total)
Have you thought about going with a prepaid SIM with a data plan, I live in Germany and it works wonderfully for me. Actually, you don't even have to wait to get into country, look on website for SIMS for that part of the country and that should do it.
posted by buzywil at 6:21 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would go prepay on Meteor. US calls are 15c per minute. Buy a card and text ‘international’ to 50104 and you get that rate. Top-ups come with data at any level you want. There is no contract required.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:58 AM on January 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would make sure your husband/mother have Skype/Whatsapp and then I would go with Three, who will give you unlimited data once you top up by €20 a month (SIM only, no contract):
posted by bimbam at 7:32 AM on January 25, 2014

I've used Three with good results. Ireland isn't a big country so coverage seemed fine everywhere that I went. Just walked into a Three store, put down some Euros and they gave me a prepaid SIM card.

With unlimited data you can use Sametime [Voice], Google Voice, or Skype to talk, instead of juggling minutes.
posted by meowzilla at 5:48 PM on January 25, 2014

I use Three on pay-as-you-go. I get a €20 voucher in a shop and top it up. With that I get a month of Internet (I think it's about a GB of usage). You can use part of that €20 to buy another month of Internet for €5 (for 30 days or 500MB). Until August they have 4G data for no extra charge. The big problem with Three is that their reception can be dreadful. It depends on where you're going to be. I miss calls because of it. I find myself in places that have absolutely no signal or a little signal and extremely slow (GPRS) Internet. This isn't out in the sticks either, it's suburban Dublin.

I'd avoid Meteor.

Because of Three's bad signal, I'm going to switch to O2. Their signal seems better. They have a similar deal with Internet (without the €20 free month part). I hear that Vodafone are good too.

Buy a couple of SIMs when you get here and test them. Get pay-as-you-go instead of a contract. Go to Grafton Street which has a branch of each provider. Ask about calling to the US. Buying a SIM generally costs nothing or very little (often just the cost of the first credit). If you find you prefer one, burn through the other's credit and ditch the SIM. Use Skype instead of the phone minutes. Skype is ridiculously cheap to the US.
posted by nevan at 7:07 PM on January 25, 2014

Best answer: The cheapest option for you might be the Tesco Mobile MVNO (available from any Tesco shop) running on the O2 Network. 1GB/30 days bundle = 5 euros. €0.02 per minute to the US. €0.14 per text to the US. LycaMobile (also on O2 network) might also be worth considering depending on your data usage. Anyway, I wouldn't overthink it too much.
posted by Sharcho at 3:55 AM on January 26, 2014

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