Largest 4G plans for home broadband in Ireland

Huawei B593s-22 LEDsSince posting a few previous articles on mobile broadband, a few people contacted me for an update on how the providers compare. With Imagine launching their LTE fixed wireless broadband service earlier in 2016, both Vodafone and Eir have silently added larger 100+GB 4G mobile broadband plans, making for a more usable alternative to slow DSL, satellite and congested fixed wireless connections. I’ll also cover a few prepay options.

Article content

This article is broken down into the following sections:

  • Trial Runs – How to test before you commit
    • Caution – Don’t assume Vodafone 4G is the fastest
  • Vodafone – 300GB plan / How to extend 150GB plan to 250GB
  • Eir (Meteor network) – 250GB plan on a 1 or 12 month contract
  • Three – Unlimited (750GB fair use) plan
  • Rural WiFi (Three network) – 100GB, 250GB and Unlimited plans
  • Prepay options
    • Vodafone – 20GB + “unlimited” weekend plan
    • Three – “All you can eat” plan
    • Eir – 15GB, 50GB and “No Limits” (80GB) plans

Trial Runs

Before deciding on any service, I strongly recommend checking the coverage for the particular network. For all three networks, a good way to start is to get a lend of a phone for each network and walk around the house including the loft if possible to find the spot with the strongest 4G signal. Then run a speed test such as with Ookla’s speed test app or  This test is best performed in the evening around 9pm or when the Internet will most likely be used.

Vodafone Net Perfrom speed testFor the Vodafone network, I recommend using their speed test Net Perform, which is available on iTunes and the Google Play store.  Unlike other speed testing Apps and websites, Net Perform’s data usage does not consume the data allowance on Vodafone.   This is particularly useful on small data plans as Ookla’s speed test App typically consumes 100MB per test on a 4G connection.  Like Ookla, Net Perform measures the uplink, downlink and the ping (latency) as shown on the right.  It also maintains a speed test history.

For the Vodafone and Eir (Meteor) networks, the test results give a rough indication of what can be achieved with a dedicated router.  For the Three network, I recommend getting the lend of a router and Three broadband SIM if at all possible.

The Three network shapes traffic differently between handsets and broadband devices and appears to limit the range of how far the broadband device will operate from a mast.  Based on my experience, broadband devices generally get considerably faster data speeds than mobile handsets on the Three network, particularly in a strong signal area. However, I also have been in an area where mobile handsets work fine the Three network with both 3G and 4G, yet broadband devices are unable to register with the network with a Three Mobile broadband SIM.

If the phone does not switch to 4G mode inside, I recommend trying to force the phone into LTE mode to see whether it can pick up even 1 bar of usable reception. Desktop broadband routers such as the Huawei B593-22s have antennas far more sensitive than those in handsets. As a result, a 1 bar 4G phone signal will usually mean a moderate 4G signal on a dedicated router or stronger with an outdoor antenna.

See my other articles for router and antenna advice:

ComReg has a SiteViewer website that shows the locations of the mobile operator cellular masts across Ireland, which includes the operator names and connection type (GSM=2G, UMTS=3G and LTE=4G):


Despite all the hype over Vodafone’s performance, don’t assume Vodafone will perform better even when right next to a 4G Vodafone mast.  For example, from my testing along various points between Kilcar and Letterkenny, I was surprised at the different speeds I got between Three and Vodafone.  Over this period in 2017, the Three network was barely usable in the evenings along this route.  These tests were run on a HTC U11 phone with the Ookla Speedtest app.  The first where on the Vodafone network and the second set was after I ported to Three prepay.

Although I ran both tests on a Sunday, ideally, I should have run them at similar times.  However, even with running the Vodafone tests earlier in the day, Three performed better in the majority of the tests.  The grey and blue shading indicates 4G and 4G+, respectively.  The green indicates which network performed better in each test result.

I plan rerunning the download tests with TestMy at a later stage.  Ookla’s speedtest is a capacity tester by saturating the connection with lots of connections to the test server.  TestMy tests with a single TCP connection, which would indicate the maximum transfer rate when downloading a large file or streaming, such as IPTV.  This article goes into more detail.

Although Three has better 4G(+) coverage around us, Vodafone has better 3G coverage.  For example, I had 4G coverage on Three most of the way between Donegal and Ballybofey, whereas Vodafone dropped to 3G outside Donegal and didn’t pick up 4G again until entering Ballybofey.  Between Killybegs and Mountcharles, Vodafone maintained at least 3G coverage, while Three fell to 2G (Edge) in a few areas.  Eir is even worse, for example, Eir does not even have 3G coverage most of the way between Donegal and Ballybofey.

There are many other parts of the country where Three is barely usable after 6pm, such as parts of Dublin.  Basically, don’t blindly sign up to a contract just because a friend in another area is showing off very fast speed tests on the same network at their end. 

For example, here are a handful of speed tests run one after another with TestMy on the Three network in Donegal town on Saturday, 24th August 2019.  The town was packed with the “Taste of Donegal” food festival:

TestMy in Donegal town 24th August 2019

This is another speed test run about 8pm, Saturday 21st September 2019 with TestMy also in Donegal town:

Sadly, these test results are completely meaningless for anywhere outside of Donegal town, let alone anywhere else in Ireland.  In fact, very few 4G areas are capable of delivering over 100Mbps even off-peak on the Three network. 

For comparison, this is a speed test run on my home connection from the Three 4G mast in Kilcar (Co. Donegal) around noon, Sunday 22nd September 2019:

As wireless is a shared system, there may be a massive change in performance over the contract duration.  All it takes is for a Three sales representative to sign up a few dozen people in a particular area to Three broadband, then there’s no doubt there will be a sharp drop in the peak time throughput on the mast serving the area.


Vodafone has by far the most widespread 4G coverage in Ireland and even has 3G in many areas not covered by any other network. With their mediocre data bundles on both prepay and contract mobile phone plans and the most expensive mobile broadband plans, it is no surprise that people are showing off impressive 4G speed tests due to their lighter network load. (See update below)

Vodafone’s largest mobile broadband offering is 300GB/month for new customers after the 1st October 2019.  The price is €40/month with a 12-month contract.  They provide the router for free with the contract, although it’s unclear whether the new 300GB plan lets the customer keep the router if they leave.  Vodafone sell their 4G home broadband packages with its Vodafone B528 4G+ Router.  

The Terms & Conditions of the 300GB plan (under Vodafone Simply Broadband 4G) mention that a 10Mbps speed cap is imposed.  I have not heard any feed back whether they actually enforce this yet.  With their 150GB plan, they just mention that a speed cap may be imposed. 

Up until September 2019, Vodafone offered a 150GB plan, which is extendible to 250GB by purchasing a €10 add-on to increase the limit to 250GB.   Customers that purchased this 150GB plan have a 24 month contract at €45/month.  The Vodafone reps have given mixed information about how the 100GB add-on works.  In the past, they said it adds 100GB one-off for the remainder of the current month, while more recently they said it takes effect from the next billing cycle.

Vodafone’s SIM only contract lengths are 12 months (available on this page) and to between 18 and 24 months depending on the device choice.  Unfortunately, their SIM only packages are puny in comparison, currently up to 30GB for €30/month.  The large 300GB plan is not available SIM only.

The Vodafone B528 is a rebadged Huawei B528.  It features LTE Category 6 support (4G+ capable), Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11ac (5Ghz Wi-Fi) and a VoIP telephone port.  For those with a weak signal signal, it has two TS9 antenna connectors.  See this page on 4gltemall for a review of it and detailed specification on this router.

Vodafone automatically caps the connection on their 300GB and existing 150GB plans, preventing accidental excess usage.  According to Vodafone, once the connection drops at the usage limit for the 150GB plan, the customer can call Vodafone to extend the limit.  The customer can buy a one-off 10GB extension for €15 or extend the monthly limit by 100GB for €10/extra.  The 100GB add-on takes effect from the next billing cycle (see update below).  

With the smaller and older plans, there are mixed reports on their forums about whether they can stop the user going over the limit.  Excess usage is charged at 0.02c/MB (€20/GB), even on the 300GB plan should the customer ask Vodafone to remove the cap.  At this rate, I strongly recommend using an alternative means of getting back online such as tethering or using a prepay Vodafone data SIM (20GB for €20). 

From what I have heard, Vodafone currently only provides 4G+ (LTE Advanced) access with mobile phone plans only.  When using a 4G+ capable router such as the Vodafone B528, it may connect using one band only, usually the higher capacity band in a 4G+ coverage area.  This should still provide up to 150Mbps of bandwidth depending on the signal strength and network load. 

Update 6th October 2019: Vodafone started offering a 300GB 4G plan which they call Simply Broadband 4G.


Eir owns the former Meteor network, which operates independent of Three and Vodafone masts. What they don’t mention on their website is that they have a 250GB mobile broadband plan. They now call this eir Wireless Broadband.  Up until August 2018, was available as an alternative to DSL as a home phone and broadband package.  Now they offer it independently, but by request such as with their chat service.

Their standalone 4G mobile broadband plan is €52.99/month for 250GB with a €49.99 activation fee.   The router costs €49 on a 12 month contract or €149 on a rolling 30 day contract.  Prior to August 2018, they had a 100GB plan for €45/month, which they have since discontinued.  The 250GB plan was reduced from €60 for new customers.

Based on their 50GB bill pay plan, it is very likely they offer the same Huawei B528 router on the 250GB plan.  This router is the same model that Vodafone provides, which is 4G+ capable and has two TS9 antenna ports.

Eir’s excess usage is 0.002c/MB (€2/GB) for going over the 100GB or 250GB limit.  Further info can be found on page 4 of this price plan.

Note from 17th Jan. ’17: I visited a couple who were able to avail of the Eir 4G mobile broadband.  In order to avail of Eir’s mobile broadband service at the time, they had to move their telephone provider back to Eir and were offered a bundle of 100GB mobile broadband data and anytime Ireland and UK inc. Mobile calls for €60 per month on a 12 month contract from what I recall them mentioning.

TestMy Meteor speed test - 1.2Mbps down, 9.7Mbps upThe router they were provided is a Huawei B315 and is configured with the Meteor broadband APN (  The speed was very impressive for the time of evening, but then again they are in a rural area, so the cell tower they are picking up is lightly loaded.  The speed test on the right was Monday evening about 8:30pm.

Update 17th May ’19: Back in August 2018 dropped the price of the 250GB plan to €52.99/month and discontinued the 100GB plan.  They now call this their eir Wireless Broadband plan, which I only found out after a helpful comment Michael posted below.  Going by the revised price plan, they no longer mention any phone bundle, so it no longer appears necessary to port a landline to Eir to avail of the 250GB broadband plan.


Three has recently added an unlimited broadband (750GB fair usage) to its range for €30/month.  This is either available SIM only or with a Huawei B525 router on an 18 month minimum contract.  Their Huawei B525 router includes two rabbit ear antennas.  Over the 18 month period, it actually works out cheaper than buying the B525 router separately while using a prepay phone SIM in the router for AYCE data. Unlike that unofficial method, Three will provide technical support and there is also a 14 day cooling off period when ordering the broadband package online.

The 30GB, 60GB, 100GB and 250GB broadband plans are no longer listed on any of its device or SIM only plans.  Customers on those plans can upgrade to the 750GB plan within the last three months of their contract.  Only the tiny 3GB plan is available SIM only for new customers.  At €16/month, I strongly recommend choosing another provider such as Eir’s prepay mobile broadband.

For those that need a public IP address such as for port forwarding, change the router’s APN to “3internet”. The router may need to be rebooted for the public IP address to be assigned. If the IP address shown on the router’s status page starts with ’10.x.x.x’ or ‘100.x.x.x’, then it is a private IP address and port forwarding will unlikely work.  Occasionally the router may get assigned a private IP address even with the 3internet APN.  Should this happen, restart the router and it will usually pick up a public IP address again.

Based on my poor experience with Three’s Technical support (see below) and what I’ve heard from others, I recommend going the SIM only (which requires buying the router) or considering the Rural Wi-Fi alternative below.  For the router, I suggest going for the Huawei E5186s-22, which costs around £80.  Like the newer B525, it is 4G+ capable, has gigabit LAN ports, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and two SMA antenna ports.  By going SIM only, this avoids the risk of being stuck in a long contract should the service severely deteriorate after a few months.

Warning: Three has the most severe excess usage charge of 0.05c/MB (€50/GB) and they do not provide any capability of preventing the user going over their limit.  This also applies to their new “unlimited” / 750GB broadband offering in addition to their earlier broadband plans.

41ms ping, 19.77Mbps down, 13.6Mbps upTraffic shaping:  Three enforces  traffic shaping on its network, particularly during peak periods and with its rural masts.  See this article for a traffic shaping demo, compared side-by-side with other networks.

As a quick example, compare the above right speed test against the following file download from Heanet, both tests performed one after the other during peak time.  435KB/s is only 3.48Mbps.  The bottleneck is certainly not at Heanet’s end!

435KB/s from Heanet

From my own testing, Three applies the same traffic shaping to their broadband contract customers as they do with their prepay phone customers.  This includes prioritisation of certain services such as YouTube and some CDNs such as Cloudflare and Google.  On the other hand, the connection appears to be more stable than using a phone SIM and they will provide technical support.   The unlimited broadband contract also includes a free Huawei B525 router, useful for those who don’t already own a suitable router or would like to upgrade theirs.

Update 7th March 2018: It appears that Three was traffic shaping in the UK also.  Three (and Vodafone) in the UK are to be investigated by Ofcom, the UK telecoms watchdog.  They are accused of slowing down certain types of traffic, including data roaming.

On the plus side (for me), Three has upgraded the mast in my area, providing a substantial improvement in the 4G speed I get here, even peak time.  For anyone that had bad performance before with Three, it’s certainly worth giving them another test run such as with a prepay SIM.  I did not expect this to happen given our rural location and no sign of 4G from Eir/Vodafone yet around here.

Update 27th March 2018: As of Friday, 23rd March 2018, my Three internet connection started going up and down in a loop.  It appears that Three installed a new mast in a distance that my router keeps trying to switch to.  Each time the router shows it’s on cell ID 471047, the connection drops as the cell is likely beyond the range limit.  A continuous ping test clearly illustrates the issue:

Three 4G connection dropping - ping test

After escalating the issue with Three, they could not find any fault with my service and that I’m getting good speed.  They don’t seem to care about my connection stability, as long as the speed is higher than 0.5Mbps when it’s up.  Despite sending them numerous screenshots including the above ping test, they insist that my connection is fine.

So far, I have been able to get around this issue by positioning a dense obstacle in line-of-sight of that new mast.  My signal has taken a hit as it’s difficult to block the mast without partially blocking the local mast as there’s about a 30 degree angle between the two.  I plan posting an update later once I get hold of some new band 20 directional antennas, as this would make a good isolation test on directivity.

Update 9th April 2018: I have two new Wittenberg LAT 22 antennas set up and these are doing a great job at at isolating the local mast.  Better signal readings, more consistent throughput and no more drop-outs.  I plan posting more about these in a new article when I get time.  Please note that these LAT22’s are band 20 only.

Update 1st October 2018: Someone contacted me to mention that Three’s unlimited plan is now available SIM only on a 30-day rolling contract.

Rural WiFi

Despite its name, Rural WiFi is actually a Three/Vodafone reseller and are a partner of Fleetconnect, the provider of Wi-Fi services on public transport such as Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.

They provide a choice of three packages – 100GB, 250GB and unlimited data, all on an 18 month contract. Their plans are priced at €48, €58 and €65, respectively.  However, they usually discount these prices anywhere from a few months to the contract duration, varying up/down a few Euro depending on their promotion (see note below).  They include a 30 day guarantee, twice as long as the standard 14 day cooling off period. They loan a mains operated desktop router on a returnable €65 deposit for the duration of their service, plus €15 for next day shipping.

They appear to use the Three network directly for the 250GB and unlimited plans and Vodafone for the small 100GB plan.  Going by feedback and posts I came across on, they use a variety of routers.  These include the Teltonika RUT950, D-Link DWR-953 and TP-Link TL-MR6400.  Earlier customers received the D-Link DWR-921.  Their customer service is reportedly a lot better than Three and Vodafone’s own broadband plans and their data speeds are also reportedly better than Three. I still have yet to hear anyone complain about their customer service.

One Rural Wi-Fi customer contacted me to say that Rural Wi-Fi does not have excess data usage charges.  I have also seen a few people mention the same on the forums.  The connection drops once they use up the data allowance.  Rural Wi-Fi provides the option to upgrade their subscription (e.g. 250GB to unlimited) to increase the allowance.

Note: Unlike the other providers, Rural Wi-Fi regularly makes drastic changes to its promotional pricing.  For example, they usually vary the promotional discount and duration every few weeks.  As a result, if the offer does not seem that good at present, check back a week or two later.

Current pricing and further information on Rural WiFi are available on their official website.

Prepay Options

All three major providers offer prepay plans which are worth considering before entering a lengthy contract. This can be useful if it is difficult to get a lend of a phone or broadband SIM for a certain network. The obvious catch is that the user needs to obtain a suitable router to try the SIM in.

My recommendation is to get a Huawei B593s-22 second hand off eBay, which is typically priced around €60 to €80 including delivery. Although this router lacks the LTE Advanced capability of some newer routers, it reportedly provides the best internal antenna sensitivity of any desktop 4G router making it better suited for those in weak signal areas, especially where the user wants to avoid or cannot install an outdoor antenna. The B593s-22 also has a high resale value where the user can recover most of the cost if they go with a contract plan that includes a free or discounted router.

SIM card note: Each network now issues a trio SIM card regardless of its intended use.  This is a modular SIM card that splits apart to fit mini, micro and nano SIM slots.  Most routers require a mini size SIM.  If you accidentally split the SIM apart, these pieces snap together again.  This can also be useful to swap a SIM back and forth between a router and a phone that require difference size SIM cards.

The following options below are a few prepay plans worth considering for those who do not want to sign up to any contract.


Vodafone’s largest prepay mobile broadband bundle is 20GB for €20 each 4 weeks.  However, this should be sufficient for testing the network before signing up to a lengthy contract.   Vodafone is the only network that officially supports phone and mobile broadband use with the one SIM card.  Just order a Vodafone SIM (new number option) from their website or buy a Vodafone SIM instore.  The SIM costs €10, but this will be given back as €10 credit once the user registers for My Vodafone.

When registering for MyVodafone, it will ask whether the SIM will go into a phone or a data device.  The user can later change this setting.  Be sure to use the correct APN for the corresponding bundle, as explained in this article.  While Three and Eir (Meteor) phone SIMs work in data devices (see below), they do not officially support such usage.

The Vodafone X (student) plans offers the largest data bundles with prepay on the Vodafone network, intended for handset use. These plans target students, however, they have since relaxed the sign-up requirements.  New and existing Vodafone prepay customers can avail of a Vodafone X plan by sending an SMS “music”, “weekend” or “sport” for the corresponding plan to 50222, then top up by €20 to pay to activate it.

The Vodafone X WEEKEND plan offers 25GB for €20 per 4 week interval, plus unlimited weekend data (20GB fair use each weekend).  Tethering reportedly works, however, Vodafone branded phones such as the Smart Ultra prevents tethering with the live APN.  Attempting to tether with the ‘hs’ or ‘isp’ APN will incur out-of-bundle charges.  Another workaround would be to place the SIM in a router and set the APN to  If the router has a telephone socket (e.g. Huawei B525), plug a corded telephone into the router’s telephone socket to make/receive calls using the voice minutes.

Note: It can take a day for 4G to activate on a new Vodafone prepay account.  Their support chat service can usually override this.  Vodafone also has a known issue where 4G can randomly deactivate, which requires contacting their support to reactivate.

Three prepay

Going by numerous reports in the midband forum, many have been using Three’s prepay phone SIM as their main home Internet connection, some for years. Three prepay phone SIMs provide “All you can eat” data without having to do anything other than operate the SIM in a phone handset for its first use and top it up by €20 each 28 day cycle.

Although not supported or permitted according to Three, they do not actively prevent such usage at this time. However, they do appear to randomly block the connection.  When this happens, Internet connectivity drops even when the router is rebooted or still shows a connection.  When this happens, the SIM is generally only temporarily blocked.  When the router is switched off for roughly 5 minutes, the SIM will work again.

From my own testing, Three no longer gives network priority to their official broadband SIMs like they did in the past.  On the other hand, Three will not provide support if there is any technical issue as they can identify the device the SIM is placed in.  Three also has a much larger fair usage allowance of 750GB compared to the 60GB/cycle with a phone SIM.  This means there is a greater likelihood of Three throttling the connection for excessive usage with a phone SIM.

The official fair usage limit on prepay phone SIMs is 60GB/cycle after which Three may throttle the service, so it is unlikely users will run into any issue if they keep their 4 week usage below this. I have not come across anyone on Boards mentioning they were cut off for excess usage, but heard a few that were throttled to 1Mbps temporarily after very heavy usage.

Beware:  Do not attempt to use any bill pay phone SIM for tethering or use in a modem. There have been reports of users running up very large bills in excess of €1000 for tethering.  This is especially the case with business, iPhone and former O2 plans.

Traffic shaping: Three applies extensive traffic prioritisation and throttling to its AYCE service during peak time periods.  Speed tests are practically meaningless as a result other than for off-peak testing to check the equipment / antenna.  From my own testing, YouTube is clearly prioritised and often has no problem streaming at 1080p in my area.  Downloads on the other hand are heavily throttled to as low as 500Kbps (64KB/s).  For example, various speed tests such as Ookla, and TestMy report 500Kbps to 2Mbps, while the ‘Stats for Nerds’ in YouTube can hit as high as 30Mbps right after the speed test.

Three Visitor SIM: Three has introduced a Visitor prepay SIM, intended for tourists.  Unlike Three’s regular prepay SIM, the Visitor SIM clearly states it provides a 60GB allowance with each €20 top-up.  For comparison, the regular prepay SIM provides All You Can Eat data (60GB fair use, 2TB hard limit) with each €20 top-up.  It is quite possible that the visitor SIM does not enforce a maximum roaming duration period limit other than a 5GB EU data allowance.

Eir (Meteor) prepay

Eir’s prepay Mobile Broadband plan offer 15GB of data for €20 or 50GB of data for €30, both with a 30 day limit.  Both plans can be renewed the moment it runs out by just buying another 50GB add-on.  Up until August 2019, this was the cheapest way to purchase data on their Eir mobile network.  

Minimum top-up interval warning

A top-up is necessary at least every 6 months to keep the SIM active.  For example, if the SIM will be for backup, top it up by €5 each 5-6 months.  Should an outage occur, top it up by the value to bring the credit up to €30 and purchase the 50GB add-on.

Eir (Meteor) Simplicity plans

Eir increased the fair usage allowance of its simplicity plans from 20GB to 80GB around August 2019, with further usage potentially throttled until the next top-up cycle.  This prepay package is their “Calls + Data” No Limits plan, which costs €20 every 28 day cycle.

Previously when Meteor (now Eir) charged €20 for 7.5GB of prepay mobile broadband, I suggested using a Meteor simplicity phone plan for data.  With a suitable router (e.g. Huawei B315 or B525), the router’s telephone port can be used to make/receive calls with the SIM’s number.   I can confirm this still works with the latest Eir No Limits SIM.  This is especially useful when there is no landline in the house.  When dialling out, it can take 10 o 20 seconds before the call goes through.

Although not officially supported by Eir, their prepay phone SIMs will work in a router using the APN ‘’. This can be a useful way of making use of their 80GB 4G prepay simplicity plan for €20/28-day interval.  I have tested the SIM in a Huawei B593s-22a and B525 without any issue even on 4G.

To avail of the “No Limits” plan: The user needs to send the SMS ’20 calls and data’ to 50104 for their 80GB 4G plan before applying the first top-up. After this, the user just needs to top up the SIM each 28 day cycle to keep the plan active.  The easiest way to do this is to send a €20 top-up to the SIM # from online banking. 

For users in a strong Eir 4G signal area:  A worthwhile suggestion is to switch their mobile phone plan to Eir for the €20 calls & 80GB plan.  This way they can make use of the unlimited calls and use the data between their handset and for tethering, which I can confirm works fine. This is also a great way to supplement another limited broadband plan. For example, if a user is on one of Three’s mobile broadband plans and struggles with speed in the evening, they could tether from their Eir handset in the evening when they need the speed.

If the data allowance runs out before the new 28 day cycle, Eir will issue a warning about reaching the fair usage limit and may throttle the connection.  They no longer cut off data or charge for excess usage. 

When the 28 day bundle expires, Eir cuts off the data connection and presents a landing webpage with a choice of options. The €5 booster option provides an extra 500MB (=1c/MB or €10/GB). Do not choose the ‘Out of bundle’ option!

Article revisions

  • 8th June 2017 – Added note about minimum top-up interval on Meteor
  • 23rd June 2017 – Three reportedly apples traffic shaping to broadband SIMs.
  • 28th June 2017 – Revised Meteor section – €10 data plan discontinued
  • 18th July 2017 – Revised Meteor broadband on renewing the 50GB bundle.
  • 21st July 2017 – Added Vodafone prepay broadband.
  • 24th July 2017 – Added note above Meteor renaming to Eir.
  • 2nd August 2017 – Added note about Three Visitor prepay SIM
  • 5th August 2017 – Clarified how to get a Vodafone prepay broadband SIM.
  • 5th September 2017 – Added section on Opel OnStar.
  • 8th September 2017 – Eir drops the Meteor branding along with the 15GB/50GB prepay broadband bundles on their website.
  • 18th September 2017 – Revised the Meteor prepay broadband section with the new Eir branding and added a note about Vodafone’s Net Perform App.
  • 27th September 2017 – Eir now lists the 15GB and 50GB prepay broadband bundles.
  • 6th October 2017 – Vodafone drops the price of their 150GB 4G package.  50GB package no longer available.
  • 25th October 2017 – Revised the Rural Wi-Fi section about the usage limit and router offering.
  • 16th November 2017 – Vodafone now offer a 100GB add-on with its 150GB plan.
  • 4th November 2017 – Added note about Vodafone 4G+.
  • 10th January 2018 – Updated Rural Wi-Fi with 12 month contract pricing.
  • 16th January 2018 – Added Three’s new 750GB promotional plan.
  • 23rd January 2018 – Revised Vodafone section.
  • 22nd February 2018 – Added note about recent Vodafone performance issues.
  • 27th February 2018 – Revised the Three broadband sections.
  • 7th March 2018 – Vodafone performance issues appear to be fixed.  Added update to Three broadband section.
  • 22nd March 2018 – Revised Eir prepay broadband – They reduced the 180 day 50GB pass to just 30 days.
  • 27th March 2018 – Added update of my recent experience with Three.
  • 9th April 2018 – Updated Rural Wi-Fi with rough pricing as they keep altering their prices.
  • 24th May 2018 – Various Vodafone users are running into issues with Vodafone’s B528 router again.  Moved obsolete iD Mobile section and Eir 180 day plan advice to Archive.
  • 4th June 2018 – Added a caution about assuming Vodafone is the fastest.  It’s certainly not the case around Co. Donegal!
  • 21st August 2018 – Revised the Vodafone prepay section now that Vodafone relaxed the Vodafone X sign-up requirements.
  • 1st October 2018 – Three’s unlimited plan is now available SIM only
  • 21st November 2018 – Rural Wi-Fi’s 100GB plan uses the Vodafone network. Eir simplicity prepay now offers 20GB per 28-day invertval.
  • 17th May 2019 – Eir dropped the 100GB plan and reduced the 250GB plan price.  They now offer it indepedent of a phone service.
  • 9th June 2019 – Vodafone recently increased its 28-day prepay broadband from 7.5GB to 20GB and its Vodafone X weekend to 25GB.
  • 14th August 2019 – Eir increased its prepay simplicity plans from 20GB to 80GB and throttle excess usage instead of a hard cap.
  • 22nd September 2019 – Revised the Eir prepay section and removed the Opel OnStar section. 
  • 6th October 2019 – Revised the Vodafone section for their new 300GB plan. 

61 thoughts on “Largest 4G plans for home broadband in Ireland”

  1. great article, i actually rang eir and was transferred about for a bit. Finally found someone who know what I was tlaking about but advised that because I can get standard dsl (2mb) I cannot avail of the 4g mobile broadband promotion. I don’t think meteor has 4g where I am anyways so I am going to approach VF about their plan (we definately have VF 4g).

    1. That’s a real bummer that Eir will not provide the 4G mobile broadband where one can get barely usable DSL. I can understand if they didn’t provide it to those that can get VDSL, but it doesn’t make sense that they refuse to offer it to anyone that can get DSL no matter how slow the DSL link is. Thanks for the info.

      1. Yes a real shame, Dennis Naughton has a live Facebook Q&A session on broadband rollout next Tuesday 13th it may interest you. I went with VF 150GB, great speeds but I data cap means is not a feasible service for a family connection. I’ll just keep plaguing VF until the review their packages again.

      2. Justine here again. Ok I went onto and when the green chat now comes on click on it to talk to a representative. So you know what package to ask for, my package/bundle is eir talk mobile world with eir wireless broadband 250 GB. I have just been trying to sort my new deal but as my contract does not run out until 15 oct I cannot renew yet. The representative I have spoken informs that they are still taking new customers on this package so maybe this is the best way forward for anyone considering eir wireless 4G broadband. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Sean, I have just opted for landline + 100Gb 4G mobile broadband. I have been using their €30/50Gb plan but the cap was too low. I was told I need to get a FMS router because my
      huawei e5577 will not do. They want €50 for this router, but do
      I need to get one or are they hawking one off on me. I have googled and cannot find anything about FMS. Perhaps you might know something/ Thanks in advance. Chris.

      1. I have actually no idea what FMS is either. What I suspect is they want a dedicated mains operated router instead of a portable device, i.e. FMS Router possibly means Fixed Mains Supply Router. Portable devices tend to be more resource heavy on the network as their smaller internal antennas are not as sensitive.

        The last person I spoke to that got that package got a Huawei B315 from Eir, which is a mains operated router. Mains operated routers are generally more sensitive (and in turn better speed), provide better Wi-Fi range and LAN ports (like a DSL router). That router is around £100 on Amazon, so the €50 would be cheaper than buying it or similar router elsewhere.

        If you no longer need the Huawei e5577, it would be worth asking Eir for an unlock code. A used unlocked e5577 is currently around €70 on eBay, so you could try selling it to recover the cost.

        1. Thanks for the reply, Sean, very interesting. My first thought was it might be similar to Imagine LTE with a fixed exterior antenna but you are probably right. Also I only have the Huawei for 6 mths on their 50GB plan, would they give an unlock code after 6 mths, It would be handy. Cheers

    3. Don’t ring, chat online with eir. I have had it now for two years looking for a third year. I did it online chat both times. Probably someone in India! But last year when I wanted to renew my contract but wanted either a better or the same deal, €50 per month 12 months he moved me from phone line calls to U.K. And Ireland and mobile unlimited callls plus 100 GB data per month to worldwide calls and 250 GB data per month for the same €50 pm and don’t forget if you get SuperValu points you can convert and get money off that too which I do of course. Unfortunately that contract is once again due up so instead of calling eir or logging in, I google eir 4g mobile broadband and chat online and hopefully I can continue with my same deal.

  2. Great article. Really interested in this as I currently use meteor mobile broadband (have done for over a year) – I get there heanet package €19.99 for 50GB – 6 month package which continues after. I had major problems with signal strength until I got this – broadband antenna. It connects into the back of the B315 and I have gone from 2g to 4g with 15mb download which is pretty constant. I would be a heavy user of Netflix and streaming online but have 2 times gone over limit – I then use a 3 pre pay sim which I top up my 20€ when this happens – I have an old Mifi thing I put this in and it connects to the antenna too. I find the out of bundle data too expensive with meteor. I have noticed at the back of my house recently I have started to get 4g on my phone in the house – this never happened before so am considering moving my antenna to the back and seeing if the signal gets stronger. I can get 25mb download on my phone when outside. The antenna has been a lifesaver. We don’t have a phone line in the house so mobile broadband is our only option.

    1. If your excess usage under 25GB/month, another option would be to get a Meteor prepay data SIM. It costs €30 for a 50GB and lasts 180 days. So if let’s say your average excess is 15GB/month, that 50GB bundle would last just over 3 months, working out at about €10/month for the excess usage. However, if your excess is 30GB+/month, then the Three AYCE SIM is the way to go if you get decent speed on Three. In my area, Three’s 4G peaks over 40Mbps early in the day, but is currently 1Mbps at 10:45pm going by TestMy, which measures the sustained speed similar to a YouTube stream.

      I might put together another article on antennas as I do get quite a number of people asking me questions on these. For example, although the Omni-directional antennas can pick up the signal from any direction, its horizontal element is actually directional, so aiming the antenna can make a noticeable difference to the download speed as 4G makes use of both the vertical and horizontal elements, each connected by a separate wire to the router. Great to hear that your antenna is working well.

      1. Thanks for the advise on meteor sim for additional internet. Might just get that and at least it would work in the B315 as it’s locked to meteor and I could get rid of my other old mifi. My excess usage would usually be 10gb.

        Must take a look at my antenna after your comment on positioning. I get pretty good speeds already but more speed would be good.

  3. I’ve been using Three Prepay All You Can Eat data as my main internet connection for 2 years now. Equipment is Xiaomi MiFi AC USB router with OpenWRT (ordered form AliExpress, 25,- EUR) and Huawei e3372 4G USB modem (30,- EUR from eBay). Works like a charm (streaming – Netflix/Youtube, browsing, FaceTime/Skype, even heavy downloads). I’ve had months with more than 500GB traffic and I’ve never been throttled. The speed has started to decrease lately, possibly due to lots of people doing the same as I do, though.
    My house is about 1/4 mile away from Three’s cell tower (my modem sits in the window, in the line of sight to the tower) and I get between 15-25 Mbps download and 5-15 Mbps upload when testing with Ookla Speed test, depending on time of the day.
    If you need help with the setup, comment here.

    1. Three appears to be prioritising YouTube traffic, although I’m not sure about Netflix as I don’t have a subscription. This evening I’m getting a massive difference between what the ‘Stats for Nerds’ reports in YouTube compared to both Ookla’s Speedtest and TestMy. The following YouTube stats screenshot was taken right after the two speed tests about 9:40pm:

      YouTube stats image ~9:40pm Ookla speedtest about 9:40pm on Three TestMy speedtest about 9:40pm on Three

    2. rf_engineer,

      very interested in how to set up? also i can only seem to find contract all you can eat sims.. would they work the same?

      1. Davros, what exactly you want to know? If you have the same gear (Xiaomi Mi router + Huawei e3372 4G Modem, here the steps (I assume you are average skilled with linux):

        – install OpenWRT on Xiaomi Mi:
        – setup the 4G connection:
        – to use 4G you need to edit some files inside openwrt, more specificaly replace file /lib/netifd/proto/ with the one from here:
        Reply here if you have further questions.

  4. I had been on ID Mobile 60GB plan for €30 per month but found that I got better speeds with Eir 4G so decided to go with their 100GB plan at €45 per month but after first month found I exceeded my 100GB which was not an issue on the ID Mobile 60GB service.

    I have since found out that Eir’s 100GB is based on upload plus download which I think is why I exceeded my limit. So now I am paying €45 per month for a package that seems to give me less than my previous €30 id mobile package did?

    Good old Eir!

    1. Thanks for the update – I revised the Three AYCE section. They also recently seem to be hitting hard with traffic prioritisation and throttling in recent weeks. For example, there is a substantial difference at peak time between the throughput YouTube gets compared to what a file download gets.

  5. great thread, do you know anything about regional broadband?
    they seem to offer unlimited mobile broadband at various speeds for quite reasonable prices. 15mb download speed for 50 euro unlimited data. Do you know which network they are using?

    1. Regional Broadband uses a proprietary wireless network, which means that they need to provide the correct antenna and carry out the installation. Unfortunately, I had no luck finding out what type of wireless network they use, let alone the sector capacity.

      If possible, try finding someone in your area that is currently on Regional Broadband to see what their experience is like. If you have no luck finding anyone using the service and would like to go ahead, be sure to carry out some extensive testing on the first day or two, such as in the evening most people go online. By law, there’s a 14 day cooling off where you can cancel if it’s not up your satisfaction.

      As for the package, I suggest going for the cheaper 5Mb or 10Mb package unless you need the faster upload speed during peak time. As with most wireless providers, you will probably only experience the faster download speeds of the higher packages early in the day. For example, let’s say high peak time contention brings the speed down to 5Mbps, then none of the higher packages will offer any benefit for the download speed, unless they also use traffic shaping.

  6. i’d be interested in meteor’s more than you can eat 250gb data option for 20 euros a month as long as i knew if wasn’t restricted to untlimited social media/skype/whatsapp and so on. Has anyone any experience of this. i’d be a heay enough interent user over the next few months (doing an online course taught remotely). thanks

    1. Unfortunately I’m not aware of any way of getting other traffic to be seen as social media traffic. Their usage monitors likely checks for traffic across certain IP ranges to determine whether it’s social media/YouTube or other traffic.

      What I have heard a few do is use a combination of a Meteor phone SIM with a Meteor broadband SIM. This way they do all their YouTube streaming with the phone SIM and run everything else with the broadband SIM. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with other streaming services such as Netflix as YouTube is the only streaming service Meteor includes in its “More than you can eat” feature.

  7. Fantastic article – I’ve been with Rural WiFi for about 6 months now on the unlimited plan, typically getting pings of 28ms, DL of 30Mbps and UL of 45Mbps, so very happy with that given that we are a very heavy usage house.

    For those that are interested, I was issued the D-Link DWR-953 rather than the 921 mentioned here.

    1. That’s great speed there, certainly a lot less contention on the site compared to around here. The 45Mbps uplink indicates that this is a 20MHz site (1800MHz band). Going by D-Link’s spec, the DWR-953 appears to be a newer model with the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

  8. Hi Sean, I tune into your posts every so often for updates to items that may interest me, hence why I have the 180 day Eir mobile package which is now coming to an end, can you confirm if I switch to Meteor, I should get the same signal if they are both run off the same network. I have a deck phone connected to to a tp link router using goldfish as the provider. I see you mention meteor has a 30 day 750gb option. What I don’t like about this, is the fact one can go over the limit with no notification. Do you think this is the best value opton for home broadband where no other option i.e. satellite or fibre etc. is available to me.

    1. It is Three that is providing the 750GB option. I don’t recall Meteor ever providing more than 50GB in any bundle before Eir got rid of the Meteor branding. Eir and Three have their own independent masts and network. Here in Co. Donegal, there are very few places where Three lacks 4G coverage that is covered by Eir 4G. So there’s a good chance you will have a similar or stronger 4G signal with the Three network.

      As Three’s network has heavy peak time congestion in some areas, I recommend giving Three a test run with a prepay Three SIM before signing up to the 750GB contract. For example, try testing the performance between 8pm and 10pm, which is generally when the network has the highest congestion. You can do this with a Three prepay phone SIM (although Three don’t officially support doing this), i.e. buy a Three phone SIM with a €20 top-up and that will give you 28 days to try it out. If you go ahead with the contract, order it on Three’s website and have the router delivered to your door. By law, this will give you a 14 day cooling off period to cancel.

      You can still buy the 50GB bundle on Eir, it’s the first booster option shown on the My Eir website. However, it now only lasts 30 days instead of 180 days. If you were managing fine with Eir’s 180 day bundle, it is extremely unlikely you will exceed 750GB in a month unless you start regularly streaming in 4K. I am also with Goldfish as my telephone provider and so far haven’t had any issue with using it over Three 4G.

      1. I don’t seem to have 4G with Eir, did have with Vodafone, have tried enabling the modem to 4G but doesn’t seem to pick up anything, is there a way of uploading screenshots of the settings as I’m not sure they are correct, the ISP provider has defaulted to meteor even though it is an eir sim, the speed is very good and consistent both during the day and evening except about 6 and 9pm as if eir is doing some background work.

        1. Your router probably has the Meteor network name in its firmware. My older Huawei B593 router does the same, displaying “Meteor” with an Eir SIM.

          Some routers don’t have a setting to force 4G. In this case, set the network preference/mode to Auto or LTE enabled. If it remains in 3G, then there’s either no or weak 4G in your area with Eir. If you would like me to double-check, uplaod the image to and paste the “Share” link in your message.

  9. Hi Sean,
    Excellent article, thank you. I’m using an unlocked Vodafone R216 to try various providers of mobile broadband in my ( poorly supplied ) area using PAYG sims. For all providers I have to put the router in the attic to get maximum of one bar of forced 4G signal. What I don’t understand is Eir supplying the strongest 4G signal but slowest download speeds of only 1-2mb (upload up to 10mb) at all times of day. I’m using the meteor APN as it’s an older Meteor sim. Vodafone 0-1 bars on forced 4G are giving up to 20mb download even at peak times. What’s the story with Eir? I’d prefer to use Eir as they won’t lock me into a 24 month contract unlike Vodafone, which is ridiculous entrapment for a sim based service. BTW, Three is barely detectable which probably rules out Rural Wifi.

    1. I suspect you are picking up interference on the Eir signal. For example, if you are midway between two 4G masts operating on the same frequency, the signal from one will interfere with the other. If you have a chimney block going through the loft or a large metal enclosure such as a filing cabinet, try running a speed test with the modem placed against each side, regardless of the signal reading as long as it remains connected. If the download speed climbs, then the culprit is very likely interference from another mast. In this case, a simple panel directional antenna will shield against the unwanted mast and improve your download speed. The R216 has two TS9 antenna connectors.

      If the download speed does not improve regardless of where you place the modem, there’s probably an uplink issue at the mast end such as a microwave uplink antenna that has gone off alignment. In this case, I suggest trying it forced in 3G mode. Based on my past testing, I’ve seen speeds of up to 26Mbps on Eir/Meteor 3G which I’ve never seen with 3G on Vodafone. 3G requires a full signal reading to get the most out of its speed, unlike 4G.

      If you manage to get any lock on Three 4G (where you can open a webpage or ping a host), you’ll probably get a decent Three 4G signal with a high gain outdoor antenna. To give an example, I cannot pick up Three 4G at all with a Three SIM in a phone or dongle in the loft. I am currently working off a 1 bar 4G signal using a carefully positioned LOG antenna, which gets 15-20Mbps depending on the time.

      1. Thanks very much for the detailed response. I apologise for taking so long to reply as the notification email went to my junk mail. I will take your advice and try a few things to I prove the eir and Three reception.

  10. Hi Sean,
    Great site, very useful for keeping up to date with the new sim offers. You’ve saved me a good bit of money with your advice over the last year. I’ve been able to drop my vodafone DSL line and use a 3 mobile sim instead. And for my tablet when out and about (a few hours a week) I’ve been using the eir 50gb 180 day package. Which has worked out fine.

    But now that the 180 day deal has been discontinued what sim package would you recommend for a light or occasional user?

    1. Unfortunately, there’s no prepay mobile broadband plan that comes close for the amount of data that plan provided. The only remaining options I can think of would be to either tether from your mobile (if you have a large data plan) or the following option involving a Tesco Mobile phone SIM placed in your tablet.

      Tesco Mobile would work out at €30 for 150 days, but lacks 4G access and requires careful timing of when to buy add-ons or top-up: At the start, top-up by €15 to get 10GB for 30 days. After 30 days do the same again. After that expires, you’ll have €30 of credit. For the next 3 months (every 30 days), buy a 5GB add-on which uses €10 of credit and lasts 30 days. This works out at €30 for 150 days. This requires very careful timing as out-of-bundle data is charged at 10c/MB, i.e. set a ringing reminder to buy the new bundle on the last day of the current bundle.

  11. Excellent article Sean, I noticed it was published a while ago. My address is only able for 2MB broadband, so I am looking at Vodafones mobile broadband. I am concerned about coverage in the area, and if the speeds will be good. I am also concerned about the reach of the routers throughout the large home and different rooms. Do you have any advise about this and if TP links can be used with mobile broadband to extend coverage?

    1. Vodafone’s mobile broadband seems to be having issues in certain parts of the country (there’s a long discussion thread on boards about this), however, as I have not seen this issue for myself, I’m not sure whether it’s a fault with their router or the service itself. If you go for it, order it from their website and make sure to test it extensively during the first two weeks before the cooling-off period expires. Don’t order it in a Vodafone shop as there is no cooling-off period with contracts set up in-store.

      Wi-Fi coverage should be similar to using a DSL router. You can indeed use HomePlug kits to extend the coverage throughout the house, such as this TP-Link kit which uses the home’s electrical wiring to link back to the router. I don’t recommend using a plain Wi-Fi extender (which repeats the signal) as I’ve had bad experience with various brands either intermittently dropping the link or delivering poor throughput. The HomePlug Wi-Fi kits on the other hand tend to work well and typically deliver around 40Mbps depending on the Internet source speed.

  12. Yes Sean.. I’m thinking about buying an unlocked router with sim and just using my phone’s 3 ayce plan. This would be used to connect additional devices i.e. laptops and smart TV. Effectively I want payg without fixed contract. What do you reckon,

    1. i’ve got a 4g sim router that i used for a year and it worked great . i’ve moved house and have no need for it . i’d give it to you for half price. it works great . cork/limerick area.

      1. I’m trying to get this working now but Three seem to be disconnecting the sim from the network after a few minutes.

        Is this a new thing that they’re doing does anyone know?

  13. In regards to Three Mobile Broadband bill pay service.

    “When you’re approaching your limit, we’ll send a text message to your broadband dashboard to remind you. ”

    This is not your monthly allowance limit (which I always thought it was), but an out of bundle limit similar to an overdraft which is set by three and most users have no knowledge of this, how much it is, nor is it clarified anywhere in the terms or website.
    The only reference (which I could find) to a credit limit is in the small print leaflet

    Your account is subject to a credit limit (which may be obtained from Three Customer Services). We reserve the right to request an interim payment if we reasonably consider that you are likely to exceed your credit limit. If you do not discharge the required interim payment or if your usage is reasonably considered excessive by Three, we may suspend or disconnect your Three services.

    We may set a credit limit on your account until you have established a good payment history with us or if you fail to pay your account on time. We may increase, decrease or remove your credit limit without notice. If you exceed the credit limit we set, we may suspend any or all of the Three Services you use until you have made a payment to your account. You should not use the credit limit for budgeting as the amount you owe is not capped or limited by any credit limit we set. You may contact Three Customer Services at any time to find out your then current credit limit.

    Also the warning (Alerts) text messages are not sent in real time, but are generated by their system then queued. By which time you will have incurred excess charges and will only be cut off when you reach the ‘credit limit’ Three have set on your account whether it’s €40, €80 or more

    “You’ll receive the alert once your data session ends. The system calculate all the charges and send all the text one by one per session once the data session ends. ” Quote from CS rep.

    Fortunately my contract is up in January and I can switch to the 30 day rolling plan for more data and less than half the current bundle. Only question is, will it be as reliable as it’s previous packages?

  14. Hi John Mc,
    sounds like your connecting to the 3g network. I used to have that problem a lot with my older 3g stick. Using the 4g router , i didn’t have that problem, you can force it to use 4g. A weak 4g signal is usually a lot faster and more reliable than a stronger 3g signal , in my experience. It’ll stay on that signal for days if not longer. hope that helps. good luck

    1. Hi Pat,

      Thanks for replying. I set the modem to only connect to 4G but the behaviour is the same. It looks like 3 are scanning the network for modems and disconnecting them? If I restart the modem after a few minutes it works again but is disconnected shortly afterwards.

  15. Hi John,
    it’s hard to say if 3 are now scanning the network for modems and disconnecting them, it could be . I would bet otherwise, you would have probably seen something about it in . I can probably send you my modem or you can buy one yourself i think it cost me 90 euros. you can test it and my money is on it working fine.
    see here
    i would say get a router b593 with exgernal antenna (very important). it’ll pull the weak 4g signal a lot better. you can then lock it to 4g.

    i finally (over an hour, it was killing me to find out where i got it ) found out where i got that router

    make sure you get the external antenna. let me know if you have questions. My itch is scratched. onto the next one

  16. Any good recommendations for a router with an external antenna? Are there any complications with usinf a Vodafone sim in any of them?

    1. My main recommendation would be Huawei B525, which is 4G+ capable, provides 802.11ac Wi-Fi and 4 x 1Gb LAN ports. It has two SMA screw-in antenna sockets if you intend installing an outdoor antenna for it. The router on its own has sensitive internal antennas. If you have a Vodafone phone that picks up 4G reception, the router will likely get a stronger signal in the same spot.

      If the SIM is a Vodafone broadband SIM (e.g. 150GB bill pay plan), it should automatically configure itself. If you are looking to test a Vodafone phone SIM in it, you must configure the APN to straight away, otherwise Vodafone will charge any Internet usage as out-of-bundle data.

      After you unbox it, insert the SIM card (Huawei B525 uses a micro SIM size) and switch on. The Wi-Fi password is printed on the back of the router. With some other router brands, you will need to manually enter the APN or access point name, which is for their 4G broadband plans.

  17. Hi,
    carphone warehouse have an offer during Feb 2019: MAKE THE MOVE FROM TESCO MOBILE. Move from Tesco Mobile to Three’s 30 Day SIM Only plan and GET YOUR FIRST YEAR HALF PRICE. Just €15 a month for all you can eat data, unlimited calls and unlimited texts.*. This is the cheapest ayce data deal in Ireland.

  18. In reference to you mentioning distance to mast limiting (4g down to 3g) for broadband routers. Any idea of the distances involved?

    1. The 4G limit seems to be around 20km. I’ve heard of people being able to connect fine to a mast over 10km away. However, when I was testing at someone’s house where the only 4G masts available were across a bay over 20km away, only mobiles were able to connect in 4G mode. If I forced the router in 4G-only mode, it would endlessly show no signal, even when temporarily set up outside with clear view over the bay. The 3G limit seems to be similar to GSM, i.e. around 35km, after which a connection will fail regardless of the signal strength.

  19. Thanks Sean I’m only about 10km away from vodafone, meteor and three so have plenty to choose from so!

  20. Hi Sean,
    We are moving back into our refurbished house in the next couple of weeks. We had wired broadband but it dreadful. There are no plans to improve this situation!
    I was looking at the Vodafone 4g home package and tried to test the signal with a vodafone sim (VF X plan) using Net Perform speed test as per your recommendation. The coverage map for VF for 4G shows it as fair but good within a few hundred yards at fields to our rear. The phone displays a 4G symbol but the test results show a 3G Network! I tried it in several locations in and outside the house today at around 4.30pm.
    The best result I got outside was 35Mbit/s (DownL), 16.7 Mbit/s (UpL) and 25 ms ping. This dropped to (best result) 13.4Mbit/s (DownL), 3.1 Mbit/s (UpL) and 26ms ping. Im assuming that the amount of insulaton is playing some part in this.
    I dont know if these results are good bad or indifferent. Obviously it would need an external antenna but I have no idea are these results are good enough for streaming movies for instance.

    Any advice would be most welcome.

    Best regards


    1. I think the Net Perform app is misreading the network mode. 5Mbps is about the maximum real world upload speed possible with HSPA+, so by getting 16.7Mbps up, this is definitely a 4G connection. Movie streaming needs roughly 5Mbps sustained download speed for HD streaming. For example, YouTube has no problem playing 1080p with a 5Mbps connection, as long as nothing else is downloading or streaming at the same time. Try the 50MB download test on during peak time such as between 8pm and 10pm (direct link to start this 50MB test), in the spot you got the best results on NetPerform and let it complete. TestMy doesn’t filter out dips or try to measure the peak like some other tests do with lots of simultaneous connections, so the result it gives is the sustained speed you are currently getting. If this is over 5Mbps, this is plenty for streaming HD.

      The Vodafone 4G Home Package will come with a dedicated router (Huawei B528 at present) and these generally have more sensitive built-in antennas than what’s built into the cramped space in a phone. So I suggest giving it a try before considering any antenna.

  21. Hi Sean,
    Many thanks for clearing that up for me. I’ll do the Test my as suggested and let you know how I got on.

    Many thanks again


  22. Hi Sean

    Did as suggested but around 6.30 to 7 this evening.
    In the house 4G symbol disappeared and H appeared, ended up with 1.5Mbps on the 50MB download. I could not get a 4G symbol unless I was at a window.
    Outside south facing gave 7.15Mbps and east 6.65Mbps. I ran this test a couple of times with quite similar results. North and West have banks of high trees going uphill so I did’nt even try that.
    In the attic gave 7.1 Mbps again over 50 MB. Most of the Cat5 cable is terminated in the attic and there is power so that is quite handy. Access to the roof is obviously easier so puttting an antenna is not a major problem if needed.

    I’m assuming that an outside antenna should improve things if necessary in the future.

    If an antenna was requried in the future what would be suitable for the VF (Huawei) router?

    Again many thanks for your help and time,

    Best regards


    1. That sustained speed is plenty for HD streaming and as you’re getting a few Mbps over, you’ll unlikely have a buffering issue if something downloads in the middle of a film. That speed is likely enough for two simultaneous 1080p YouTube streams as most videos are encoded with the more efficient H265 encoding that averages between 3Mbps and 4Mbps with 1080p video.

      The Vodafone router has two TS9 ports on the back. If you decide to get an outdoor antenna, I suggest getting one with SMA connectors and a pair of SMA to TS9 adapters. This way if you later replace the router to something that has SMA connectors (which are more common), you can just unscrew the TS9 adapters and attach the SMA ends directly.

  23. Hi Sean,
    I was chatting with EIR yesterday and they offered the following Mobile Broadband plan, which isn’t on the website:

    “I can offer you 250 GB data per month. The price of the data plan is €52.99 per month and contract period is for 12 months. With 250GB plans, you just need to pay €49 upfront payment for the modem. This is available only on chat. ”

    My local mast is lightly loaded due to rural location, and currently offers hotspot speeds of 26MB d/l during the day and 18MB d/l at evening times…

    Might be of interest to someone in an area that’s not heavily loaded.

    Also worth noting that both local masts close to me have EIR 4G but only have Three 3G, so difference is significant.

    1. Thanks for the update as it’s been at least a year since I last received a pricing update on their hidden 4G broadband plan. From some searching through their price lists for “€52.99”, I found this plan which they now call “wireless broadband”, which now explains why I couldn’t find any updates searching using a “4G” keyword.

      Going by the details on page 4, they discontinued the 100GB plan to new subscribers August 2018 and reduced the 250GB plan to €52.99 as you mention. Upfront cost is €49 on a 12 month contract or €149 on a rolling 30 day contract. They don’t mention the router, but very likely the Huawei B528 as what they provide with their 50GB plan on their main website.

      1. Thanks Sean, and good work on finding the “Wireless Broadband” price list!
        I definitely think a lot of people who have signed up for the “Unlimited Allowance” from would benefit from this package from EIR.

  24. Hello , so I was wondering, I started streaming a game to twitch using Three 4G on the b315, i’m also using an external antenna which is hanging upstairs in the attic along with a 3G/4G repeater which goes outside into a tree as high as possible(outdoor antenna) then the indoor antenna and re emits the signal upstairs where the external antenna is. though streaming works fine outside of peak times and I stay in a rural area in donegal. for the first 3 days it worked perfect i didnt really have any issues but the past 2 days from around 5pm-11.30pm my ping doubles which it makes it unplayable and the packet loss increases which makes playing even without streaming horrible, I can counter the packet loss by swapping to 3G which makes the game but then I don’t have sufficient upload to stream which is my goal. is there any better plan to get around this? any other ISP’s etc. I was considering buying their newest router which is 4G + capable, my neighbour picks up 4g+ with that router wondering would that make a difference?

    1. What I suspect is that the repeater could be picking up a feedback loop from the indoor antenna, causing interference and it to intermittently trip out. Generally the signal level drops as contention builds up on the mast, so the repeater will increase its transmission power to compensate. This could be enough such that the repeater’s indoor antenna starts picking up the transmission from its outdoor antenna in the evenings.

      If the repeater’s indoor antenna is not fixed, try positioning it away from any window or wall that faces where the outdoor antenna is located, such as closer to the floor. Another option, if the coaxial cable to the repeater’s outdoor antenna has an SMA connection, try connecting it directly to antenna port #1 of the B315 temporarily. Switch off the repeater before doing this. If the packet loss disappears with ping tests, then you’ll need to try relocating the repeater’s indoor antenna, preferably on the ground floor if possible.

      A 4G+ router will probably not offer much benefit with a repeated signal unless the repeater is repeating both the 800MHz and 1800MHz 4G bands. At present, you are effectively losing half the downlink bandwidth as the repeater only repeats a single polarity. What I suggest is getting a single 4G LOG antenna and install it high up outside, but in the opposite polarity to the repeater’s antenna, e.g. Horizontal if the repeater’s antenna is vertical (panel antennas are usually vertical). Connect this to the router’s antenna #1 port and the indoor antenna to the antenna #2 port. The router will use its outdoor antenna to transmit and receive (which will avoid any repeater interference) and use the repeated opposite polarity signal on antenna port #2 to increase the downlink bandwidth.

      1. I actually still get 5 bars of 4G with the external antenna inside the attic when the repeater is switched off, I haven’t tested if the ping/packet loss is worse while its off yet but I’ll try. Does the repeater provide any benefits over say just putting a 4G antenna where the repeaters outdoor one is in place of it? Also does the type of sim matter as in, I’m currently using a mobile sim which has the “unlimited” data on it which is 20e of credit every time you top up instead of paying 35 for the actual contract one. do you think the speeds differ between the broadband sim and the mobile one, because currently I just stick the mobile one into the router and top it up monthly.

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