There was a time when Meteor was the preferred network of nearly all of us students. “You’re not with meteor? Well, I won’t be sending you texts”, was how many a conversation went. We had free texts to all our friends who were with Meteor once our parents forked out the €20 a month for us. Over the past few years however, different mobile networks have begun to swivel their way into the market share.
The College View investigated the best deals for students with each mobile network. Presuming most students cannot afford to stick to a plan on bill-pay, we concentrated on the ‘pay as you go’ offers. Most of the offers are highly desirable once your friends are on the same network.
It is obviously a matter of preference which network you choose but a mobile network coming up trumps lately with a lot of people is the ‘3’ Network. For just €20 a month you can get free any network texts, free Three- to-Three calls and free calls to any network at the weekends. There is no other network that offers this. The only downside to this offer is during the week you are charged 29.48cent per minute for calls to other networks and landlines.
Students are well catered for with meteor. For €20 a month you can get free calls and texts to all Meteor customers and 250mb of internet for the month. If your friends aren’t with Meteor unfortunately you would have to top up by €30 a month to get free texts to other networks as well. There is a big advantage to being a Meteor customer however – Eircom WI-FI hub is free for all meteor customers. All you have to do is text ‘WiFi’ to 50003 to get your username and password. There are 1,593 Eircom WiFi hub hotspots in Ireland. In Dublin there are hotspots in Connolly Station and in the McDonalds, Supermacs and Burger King on O’Connell Street to name but a few.
Each network has something different to offer and Vodafone offer Cherry Points as something that makes them stand out from their competition. Every time you top up by €1 you earn one Cherry Point. You can earn them in various ways and when you earn enough points you can swap them for credit, a new mobile phone or lots of other accessories and days out. It is an incentive to stay with the network as you want to keep saving your points. With this network if you top up by €20 you can either get free calls and texts to Vodafone customers only or free any-network texts. To get internet you must top up by €25, while the best offer they have is topping up by €30 to get free internet, 100 international minutes and free Vodafone calls and texts- perfect if you want to keep in touch with your friends abroad. Unfortunately Vodafone have no pay-as-you-go option offering free calls to any network.
€20 is the key number and the average amount students spend on credit each month – therefore it’s no surprise that O2’s €20 per month offer is their most popular. With it you get free calls and texts to O2 customers and free any-network texts. You don’t get free internet but if you want to use up €10 of the €20 that you just topped up by you can get a huge 700mb of internet for the month. It is then 30 cent a minute to call other networks and landlines.
48- Go Conquer
This network on paper looks perfect. For €10 a month one can get free calls and free texts to all networks. For €20 a month you get this plus 3Gb of internet. The only problem with this network is, there is no number to contact for customer service; it is all done through the website and you have to email your questions.
We all have our own opinions on which network we prefer; I am with Meteor but Three is looking so tempting I may be convinced to change in the future. We should all shop around to try and get the best value for our money and all the networks have good offers available. The 48 network is the cheapest around at the moment but the offer is only available for 48 months- we don’t know if they are going to prolong the deal. Speak to your friends, see what network most of them are on and then work out which network will be cheapest for all of you.