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Buying a cheap cell phone

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Buying a cheap cell phone


I will be in Ireland in a month and am looking into purchasing a cheap, pre-paid cell phone. I'd like to have it for any emergency calls, some internal calls (to call ahead to B&B's, tour operators, etc.), and possibly some calls back to the US.

I've scoured the forums, and it looks like the majority of recommendations are for phones thru Tesco. There's a 10 euro one - will that one work for both calls inter-Ireland and to the US? Our itinerary also includes Northern Ireland so I need it to work there as well.

I'm getting a little lost with all of the band-width talk as well. Apparently I need a quad-band phone to make calls within Ireland and then from Ireland to the US. I have an iPhone 5s thru AT&T...anyone know if it's a quad-band phone? I'll call AT&T to confirm, but am just curious. :)

Thanks in advance for any help!!

Dublin, Ireland
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1. Re: Buying a cheap cell phone

You don't need a quad band phone unless you plan to use the phone in Ireland and the US, where you call on it is neither here nor there. Your iPhone will work fine in Ireland, if it is unlocked then just pick up a SIM from the provider of your choice.

Tesco have good rates for calls to the US from the Republic but who knows what they will charge you for such calls from NI, calling local numbers will be OK though, There are plenty of threads on these topics.

Whitney, Texas
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2. Re: Buying a cheap cell phone

I have a Tesco phone I use when in Ireland but don't know if it works in northern Ireland though.....if it does, as gaelflyer said, it's most likely going to eat up your time in a hurry...I do know it works great in the republic, and calls to the u.s. are only 2 cents per minute.....

Venice, Florida
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3. Re: Buying a cheap cell phone

The Tesco phone from the Republic will work in the North. I have done so on several occasions. Yes, it costs a bit more (as you are 'Roaming'), but Tesco offers options to mitigate those charges. You can probably find exact details here:


For what it's worth: For some reason, Tesco's signal was very poor in the vicinity of Enniskillen and near Ram's Island (outside of Belfast), the last time I was there (Oct of 2012 and June of 2013). In all fairness, so was Vodaphone's, too. :-(

While the Phone will cost 10-15 Euro, you will need to 'Top' it with another 10 Euro, for Call Credit -- but that should cover you for the entire trip (including your time in the North), assuming Casual use!

Odds are that you I-Phone is NOT unlocked. Bring it though -- Turn OFF the Cellular and use it for WiFi, which is wide-spread. We used the wife's to 'Face Time' with the Grand daughters!

Edited: 26 July 2014, 19:02
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4. Re: Buying a cheap cell phone

Odds are that you I-Phone is NOT unlocked

All USA smartphones are unlocked for international use by law.

5. Re: Buying a cheap cell phone

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