To be quite honest, there’s no simple answer to the question “Will my cellphone work in Ireland?”. It really depends on a few things – your service provider, the type of service you already have, and the type of phone you wish to take with you on your travels. Most major American cellphone service providers do have options for international roaming, and you can probably find out the information related to roaming, on their website.
You may be tied in to a plan or service in your home country, but when travelling abroad, you have to expect to pay fees that are related to the roaming service. Maybe one exists, but I’m not aware of any American cellphone plan that allows you to call from abroad for no extra fee.
So what can you expect to pay?
Again, this is very dependent on your service provider. I just checked the website for my own service, and if I were to use my American cellphone in Ireland I would pay $1.49/minute for calls, $0.019/KB for data, and a text message would cost me 50 cents to send.
Bring it anyway!
Bringing your cellphone to Ireland is a good idea for a few reasons. For one, you’ll have access to your contacts while abroad, so you’ll be able to track down phone numbers easily. Secondly, you’ll have your phone available to you before your flight leaves for Ireland, and again when you touch down in your home country on the way back. Another great reason to bring your phone (smartphones anyway), is that even if you aren’t using the phone service while abroad, you can use its WIFI capabilities in cafe’s, hotels, airports etc along the way. You may even be able to use VOIP services, such as Skype, to make low cost, or even free, calls.
At $1.49/min I wouldn’t be making too many calls in Ireland with my American phone. In fact, I never use it. I have an old Nokia phone that I bought years ago that I bring with me on each trip. That’s it in the picture. I know, I know, an old dinosaur of a thing 🙂 but it does the trick. It has an Irish number, and I find it’s the most convenient option to have while visiting home. I can go without the bells and whistles of a smart phone for a couple of weeks, people can call me on an Irish number, and I don’t receive a crazy bill on my return to the states. You can pick up these “pay-as-you-go” phones in almost any town in Ireland very cheaply.. It will allow you to make international calls, send text messages, and most importantly, be contactable.
Aside from that, you can purchase one of those international cell phones (e.g. mobal.com) that work in many countries. I’ve personally never tried those. I think they’re pretty cheap to purchase but I think they can be expensive per minute to call from. Any input from someone who has tried one would be appreciated in the comments section below.
1. Calling American mobile numbers within the United States is generally not any more expensive that calling a landline. Calling an Irish mobile number will be more expensive than if you were to call an Irish landline. Irish mobile numbers generally begin with 08X, e.g. 087, 086, 085.
2. Some Irish companies will have free or low-call numbers listed on their website. You will generally not be able to call these from abroad.
3. Don’t forget to bring a plug converter for your phone/camera chargers. I use the one pictured, which lets me charge US devices in Ireland and vice versa. It actually has worldwide capabilities, which would be nice if I had the means to travel worldwide 🙂 You can purchase similar universal plug adapters here on amazon.com. Just be sure to check that your appliance can handle the output from an Irish outlet/socket.