Today, 3 of the major Irish networks, [Vodafone][1], [O2][2] and [Three][3], have released details of their iPhone 4 prices and plans. They are all very different in their pricing approach, but Three seem to be getting the best response with their new tariffs.

Note: edited original image to show all operator prices

These attractive iPhone 4 price plans are making some potentially new and existing iPhone consider moving over to Three.

My experiences…

I bought an iPhone 4 from the UK unlocked a month ago and decided to look for a better value and coverage alternative to O2.

Porting

I got myself a free 3pay sim card, and ported over from O2 (my O2 18 month contract was expired). It took under 2 hours for the port to complete.

After I sync’d the iPhone 4 with iTunes, I received a carrier update in iTunes which automatically set up all my settings for internet, MMS, and tethering on the iPhone.

Now I’m paying €20 per month as opposed to the €60-70 I was paying on O2. Out of that €20, I purchase data add-ons as I need to (I even get a text to remind me when I’m low on data). Since I have wifi at home and at work, I was surprised to see how very little cellular network data I do actually use. I’m finding that €5 a month (for 500MBs) is all I need to use for data out of the €20 credit.

Plus, unlike Vodafone or O2, tethering is free. Still no comment regarding Visual Voicemail from Three.

Coverage

I find that Three’s network coverage is better for me than O2, in the places where I most need it. I am getting 3G in the places where I was only getting ‘EDGE’ on O2. Now, this will differ from person to person according to where you live/work. I know there are black spots in certain areas in the country where there doesn’t seem to be any data coverage (although there seems to be voice coverage everywhere I’ve been so far).

So my advice would be to walk into a Three store and grab a free 3pay sim card and pop it into your current phone. Then you can measure the signal strength in the places where it is most important for you. If you’re happy, then make the switch. If you’re not happy, then go elsewhere.

Other things I like about Three

– I am often going up north, so it’s nice that I don’t ever have to worry about roaming charges (for voice and data).

– I used the Speedtest.net app on both O2 and Three on my iPhone and consistently get double the speed on Three 3G (3.5MB downlink) in Galway.

– Three have the national broadband scheme so their 3G can only get better, whereas in the past few years on O2 I haven’t noticed any improvements in coverage.

Overall, I’m happy I made the move to Three. I can’t see any argument against my move from O2. After all, I am getting better service, and paying a lot less for it.

Disclaimer: I don't work for 3
[1]: http://www.vodafone.ie/iphone/paymonthly [2]: http://www.o2online.ie/shop/phones/iphone/iphone-4/ [3]: http://three.ie/iphone/index.htm