Archived content

The following content has been removed from the corresponding posts below.  Rather than remove it from my blog completely, I paste it below for reference.

Largest 4G plans for home broadband in Ireland

iD Mobile Broadband prepay

iD Mobile has gone into provisional liquidation and ceased to provide service on the 6th April 2018.  Further information on this and advice for existing customers can be found on their website.

iD Mobile is a virtual mobile operator on the Three network and currently provides the largest prepay 4G mobile broadband plans in Ireland that are intended for use with a router. The network is operated by the Carphone Warehouse.

Their packages are €15/month for 25GB, €25/month for 40GB and €30/month for 60GB. Each plan renews every 30 day cycle and it is not possible to renew the plan early. Their MiFi router is €74, although I recommend getting a proper desktop router for weaker signal areas. They do provide the ability to switch plan, which takes place once the current 30 day cycle lapses.

Based on my past experience trying out their network in comparison to using a Three AYCE phone SIM in a router, iD Mobile performed significantly better in the evening time, often delivering 2 to 3 times the performance I got on Three (see update below). However, during off-peak testing such as early in the day, iD Mobile seems to be ‘pulsed’ such that the average throughput averages about 20Mbps maximum on the downlink and 10Mbps on the uplink. In the past, this used to skew Ookla’s Speedtest which I’ve seen hit 40Mbps several times with iD Mobile.

Not once do I recall any download sustaining over 2.5MB/s after about 50MB of data has downloaded. The following shows an example of the “Stats for nerds” on YouTube clearly showing the bandwidth capped at 20Mbps (20480Kbps) during playback:

id-mobile-throughput-on-youtube

Excess usage is charged at 0.02c/MB (€20/GB) out of the prepay balance. This makes it difficult to make full use of the monthly bundle as a top-up must be made in advance of the upcoming 30 day plan renewal. So if the user uses up their current bundle, they will rapidly eat into their credit balance. On the other hand, the maximum excess usage the user can use is whatever prepay balance is present, e.g. €30 (1.5GB excess usage) if they did a €30 top-up for the upcoming 30 day renewal.

Unlike most networks, the renewal takes place at the same time the original bundle was purchased. For example, if the user bought their prepay iD Mobile plan in a Carphone Warehouse store at 2:30pm, the renewal will take place at 2:30pm after each 30 day cycle.

Beware:  If there is insufficient credit to renew the bundle, it will switch to the default 2c/MB charge, which can quickly gobble up any remaining credit.  If this happens, unplug the modem, top-up and choose a bundle before using the modem.  Otherwise it will start consuming the top-up at 2c/MB.  It is also not possible to purchase or renew a bundle within 30 days of the previous bundle.  The only workaround would be to get two iD Mobile broadband SIMs and use them in rotation.

There is no way to top-up by online banking at this time, however, top-ups can be made through the MyID portal using a credit card.  Top-ups purchased in store (except Carphone Warehouse) are usually subject to a surcharge such as €1 for a €30 top-up based on my experience. The user must call an 089 number to apply the top-up voucher, so the overall cost can work out at €1 to €2 more a month if the user is not near a Carphone Warehouse.

Further information on iD Mobile broadband can be found on their Mobile Broadband webpage.

Update 29th Jan. ’17: It seems like iD Mobile broadband is no longer prioritised when compared to phone SIM traffic.  Three’s network performance has deteriorated to the point where it often dips below 1Mbps in the evenings going by TestMy.net.  So I did some further testing with iD Mobile Broadband and its performance is very similar to my Three AYCE phone SIM on its 4G network here.  YouTube is also dropping down to 240p, equivalent to VHS tape quality.

Note: Unlike using a Three SIM, iD Mobile must connect to the mobile network in 3G mode for 5-10 minutes before it can go into 4G mode.  What this means is that if one is in a weak 4G signal area, they cannot force the router to use 4G only as it will not be able to reconnect if the connection drops or when the router is rebooted.  Similarly, this means that iD Mobile SIMs will not work in 4G-only devices such as most LTE outdoor routers.

Eir (Meteor) Prepay

Eir no longer offers the 180 day plan.  The text below was my former advice on using it:

Think of it like bottled gas where one replaces the bottle when it runs out, not every # days.  As long as one fully uses the bundle within 180 days, it effectively works out at 60c per GB.  For example, if one uses an average of 10GB per week, then the bundle will last roughly 5 weeks.

In fact, their €30 plan is by far the best value for light users and those with 3G/4G enabled tablets as they can effectively get a year of broadband for €5/month.  For those with a dual SIM phone, it can work as a very cheap 4G data add-on, particularly when combined with a budget Lyca or Tesco SIM for calls and texts.  This also makes an excellent backup Internet SIM.

To purchase a 50GB 180 day pass:  Text “180 day” to 50104 from the modem/router’s SMS/text tab.

Article revisions:

  • 9th September 2017 – Revised the iD Mobile broadband section.
  • 6th March 2018 – iD Mobile has gone into provisional liquidation.