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If it is time to say goodbye to your mobile phone provider, what plan should you be looking at?

There are plenty of phone options out there that don’t need to have a massive impact on your wallet

With the cost of living rising and continuing to put the pinch on consumers, it’s time to start taking a hard look at your services and what you are spending on them every month.

Mobile phones have become a big part of our everyday lives. More than two decades ago landlines were a common fixture in Irish homes; that has been declining in recent years and now voice traffic on fixed lines is a fraction of the mobile minutes that Irish consumers are clocking up.

But getting value for money is still key. While you can ditch the landline and save yourself a few euro, the cost of mobile phones and their associated plans can be a little more than you’d think. Call it complacency, or fear of the unknown but there are some mobile customers that stick with their network rather than shop around for the best value deal.

So if it is time to wave goodbye to your current provider what should you be looking at?


Pay for what you need

There are plans that include everything: high speed internet, unlimited calls, unlimited texts. But if you don’t need all that you can go for a slightly cheaper plan. For example, GoMo customers are currently being offered the chance to get 5G services added to their mobile accounts. It’s free of charge for customers already on the company’s €15 a month plan. However, those who signed up early and got the €10 and €13 plans for life that the mobile virtual network was offering in its first few months of operation will have to move to the €15 plan to get the high speed services.

The catch here is that although the 5G roll-out is ongoing, it is not as widely available as 4G and 3G services. If you don’t see the benefit to having the new technology for now, or your main area of residence and work is currently underserved by 5G services, you can skip the “upgrade” for now.

Having said that, some networks offer services such as wifi calling to help improve your mobile network coverage indoors that might be worth considering.


It’s not just about getting the cheapest price but also making sure that the service is suitable for your needs. For example, if you need high speed mobile internet access make sure that your chosen operator has sufficient coverage in the area where you will need it most. ComReg’s tool for mobile coverage ( will give you a good idea of what is available in your area.

However, coverage maps will only tell you so much. If your mobile network isn’t up to scratch you might want to change providers again. The good news is that any coverage deficiencies may be obvious quickly, and if you signed up over the phone or online you have a 14-day cooling off period. If you are waiting on a phone to be delivered that period begins the day you receive the phone.

However, if you decide to cancel after the 14-day period, or if you signed up in person, then there may be fees associated with cancelling the contract. The lesson? Do your homework in advance of signing any legally binding agreement.

Look ahead

What is your network provider’s policy on price increases? Some mobile customers may have got a bit of a shock when their network decided to increase prices significantly in recent weeks, in line with inflation plus a few per cent extra to cover investment. That extra few euro a month adds up over the year, and given the current cost-of-living crisis it may be a hike too much for some consumers. There are ways around it, such as signing up for a new contract. for example, or going for a plan to which the hikes don’t apply. But not everyone will be in a position to take those courses of action, stuck mid-contract and with some months left to run.

And that won’t be the end of the price increases. Some networks – Vodafone and Three, for example – have committed to regular price increases for customers to keep pace with inflation. That was signalled some months ago but the reality of it is probably only setting in now.

Go sim only

If you have a phone that is still in good condition and isn’t in need of an upgrade, you could decide to go sim-only and take your existing phone with you. That means you don’t have to pay for a new device and you can get a more flexible 30-day contract. If the price goes up or the service doesn’t suit your needs you can move to a different plan or a different company. It also opens up the virtual networks that only offer mobile plans and don’t provide contracts.

Check out bundles

If you are with certain companies you can bundle your mobile services with your existing telecoms subscriptions and take advantage of discounts. For example, Eir broadband or TV customers can add a mobile subscription to their account. The catch is that you have to already be an Eir customer to get that deal. Virgin Media offers something similar, but like with Eir you have to be an existing customer.

So, that’s the mobile plan sorted. But what about the phone? There are plenty of options out there that don’t need to have a massive impact on your wallet.

Cheap fixes

Why do you need to upgrade your phone? If it is because the phone is hopelessly out of date or is no longer working that is one thing. But if there is still plenty of life left in the phone, and it is simply an issue of battery or a cracked screen you could simply pay to have the device repaired. In the long run this will work out a cheaper fix than buying a new device, and it won’t tie you into a more expensive contract.

Last year’s model

Smartphones have evolved significantly in almost two decades but the pace of innovation has slowed. So while it is nice to have the latest and greatest device you often don’t lose much by taking advantage of offers on the previous year’s device. Once the new devices hit the market the discounts on the older models could be enough to tempt you.

Consider refurbished

Refurbished technology is becoming increasingly attractive to consumers. Not only are the devices a bit cheaper than buying brand new but they also have an eco-friendly appeal, with fewer emissions created by the process to get them ready for a new owner compared to creating a brand new device.

There are a few options. Swappie, for example, offers refurbished iPhones at a discount to users. It has its own factory to spruce up the devices, and offers a 12-month warranty with the phones, putting them on a similar footing to buying a new device.

In fact that’s also a protection offered by European regulations meaning that if you buy from a trader as opposed to a private seller the device is covered by consumer protection rules – it must be fit for purpose, it must as described, and consumers get a warranty they can depend on.

The value of refurbished technology is being recognised in the mainstream. Tech marketplace Refurbed, which launched in Ireland a couple of years ago, offers a 12-month warranty with its refurbished devices. All its products undergo a 40-step refurbishment process to bring them back to factory settings, and they are cheaper. The company has partnered with mobile network 48 to offer refurbished devices to customers.

Security support

One thing to consider before you spend money on a phone – new or refurbished – check out how long the device is supported. That doesn’t mean just operating system updates, but rather how long the manufacturer will issue security updates for the device. The latter is more important, and will help keep your device safe. Make sure that whatever phone you are using is still adequately protected and that the company will offer security protection for a couple of years of use.