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The basics
Ireland: Once you arrive

Setting up broadband and phone services in Ireland

Cable.co.uk provide a simple guide for international students arranging broadband internet and phone services once they’ve arrived in Ireland...

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Whether you’re living near the busy and tourist-friendly Temple Bar in Dublin, are close enough to Cork racecourse to hear the cheering crowds, or have already kissed the Blarney Stone, there’s lots to see and do while living and studying in Ireland.


Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’ll want to keep in touch with friends and family at home and might need to set up your own broadband too. So, here’s what you need to know about arranging your own mobile or internet connection (or ‘fón póca’ and ‘leathanbhanda’ if you’re brushing up on your Gaelic).


How do I get a mobile, landline or broadband deal in Ireland?

Residents of Ireland who want to sign up for goods or services on credit will first have their credit history checked with the Irish Credit Bureau. This process is very similar to the way UK consumers obtain credit, build credit scores and establish a credit history.


As a visitor to the country, you’ll still need to pass these credit checks, although providers and credit agencies do take into account your international student status and that you probably haven’t had a chance to establish a long credit history yet. To help start this process, you’ll need to open your own Irish bank account (there are several banks that offer accounts to non-Irish students), and it will help to have confirmation of your residential address and proof of student status too.


Who can I get broadband from in Ireland?

You’ll probably recognise some high profile broadband providers when you arrive in Ireland. Companies like Sky and Vodafone operate there, so they could be a tempting choice for students with prior knowledge of the brands. If you’d prefer to fully immerse yourself in the Irish experience, however, there are a number of country-exclusive providers.


Eircom, for example, is a fibre optic broadband provider with downloads of up to 100Mbps, speeds that are also matched by rival Magnet Broadband. Digiweb, in addition to offering fibre broadband up to 70Mbps, also gives you the option of satellite (useful if you’re outside of a fibre area) or metro broadband (internet access via microwave transmitters). The company also claims to offer 100% coverage of Ireland, so should be a good safety option if you find yourself in one of the more rural parts of the Emerald Isle.  


What’s the best way for me to call home from Ireland?

You won’t find references to pay-monthly mobile phone plans in Ireland; you’ll see ‘bill paid’ being advertised instead. This means exactly the same as pay monthly (a recurring contract that you pay on a monthly basis), but is one of the small differences you’ll find when checking out options for calling home.


Almost 40% of mobile phone consumers in Ireland are signed up to one provider: Vodafone. The network offers a range of plans, with its two most popular tariffs including at least 100 international minutes and texts that give you free calls to any landline or mobile number in the world – handy if you want to ring the family.


Alongside Vodafone, familiar faces O2 and Three join Meteor Mobile to make up the four leading mobile networks in Ireland. In addition, you’ll find a number of smaller mobile virtual network operators who use one of the big four to carry calls, texts and data.


As with many locations around the world, some of the cheapest ways of ringing home from Ireland won’t require you to use a phone at all: consider making Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) computer-to-computer calls instead. As long as the person you’re trying to reach is online at the same time as you and has video or voice chat software installed, you can easily make free calls home online.    


What are my rights as a consumer in Ireland?

It’s not just the euro that Ireland shares with the rest of the European Union; consumers in the country are protected by both Irish and EU law. Specifically, the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 ensures that any product or service you pay for must be of reasonable quality, be fit for purpose and as described. This means that any broadband or phone package you sign up for while in Ireland is covered by this legislation.


If you find that you’re unhappy with a product or service, talk to the National Consumer Agency (NCA) in Ireland. This group is responsible for providing consumer advice and information, as well as enforcing most Irish consumer laws. Although the NCA won’t get directly involved with your complaint, it can advise you on how to resolve any such concerns or problems you might have as a consumer.


Is there anything else I should know?

At the time of writing, there are five different providers to choose from if you’re looking for a 4G mobile deal in Ireland (Three, Meteor, eMobile, O2 and Vodafone). Generally speaking, 4G coverage is strongest in major population centres, with little or no coverage in the more rural parts of the country. This is particularly the case when you travel to some of the smaller islands or more isolated locations within Ireland, where even a reliable 2G signal can sometimes be hard to find.


As a reminder, if you’re travelling to Ireland from outside of the EU and are staying for more than 90 days, you’ll also have to register at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). This will enable you to keep your student status in the country.


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