Help an iPhone 3G user moving to Ireland for one year

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by NeutiquamErro, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. NeutiquamErro macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Hello, all. My wife and I are moving to Dublin in a little less than a month so that my wife can earn a Masters from Trinity College. We will live there for 12 to 13 months.

    We've been AT&T users for five years and upgraded to iPhones last summer. As you might expect, we've become pretty attached to our phones and would like to use the Wi-Fi feature overseas (as well as Skype for international calls, of course). However, we do not want to stay with AT&T the next 12 months (prolonged international AT&T usage = bad idea), and therefore plan on getting some cheap phones in Dublin from a local provider so that my wife and I can communicate when we're apart.

    This is where you come in. What can we do to cut ties with AT&T but continue Wi-Fi usage of our iPhones? I did some research this morning and read several accounts of individuals canceling AT&T service, removing the SIM card and using their iPhone like an iTouch without issue. However, other accounts mentioned that AT&T can disconnect Wi-Fi when customers cancel service--not sure how that's possible, but there you have it.

    On another note, do you know of a way to suspend AT&T service for one year so that we don't need to pay monthly bills but also don't need to pay the account cancellation fee? Probably a long shot, but it would be the most convenient option.

    I thought I would ask around here before making the call to AT&T and showing some CSR all of my cards. Any help on the matter would be greatly appreciated!
  2. davegreene macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    If you get the phones unlocked (either via AT&T or jailbreak) you can just get a sim card here(Ireland) and pop it in. A sim card is free from most, if not all, providers.

    Either way, you will be able to use the wifi in the manner you describe. Probably best to remove the AT&T sim though to avoid any chance of roaming charges.

    Operator wise you have the choice of:

    Note that Three wont work with the orginial iphone (its a 3g only network).

    Meteor do a tariff from €15 including a (small!) data bundle which is good value. (Bill Pay Lite + Data addon)

  3. NeutiquamErro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Oh excellent, an Irishman! Thank you for the information. If you don't mind, I have a few new questions for you...

    • Why do we need to "unlock" the phones? Will AT&T do this for free when we cancel our contracts?
    • If my wife and I decide to buy some cheap phones in Ireland for spousal communication (and keep the international communication on Skype/email), which provider and plan would you suggest?
    • Would I be correct in assuming that the using the Bill Pay Lite plans would cost double for two phones? Or are there discounts for having two phones on the same plan?
    • On a side note, we also need to purchase Irish health insurance during our stay. Which do you suggest and approximately how much should we expect to pay per month/quarter/year?

    Again, I really appreciate your help, Dave. These are questions I've needed answered for weeks, and it can be difficult to find answers online.
  4. davegreene macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    The iphone wont work with a different carrier sim card until is has been unlocked. Once you are out of contract in Ireland you can normally get a phone unlocked by the operator. Best to give AT&T a call and ask about it. Alternatively you can jailbreak the phone and use ultrasnow to unlock. Thats what I had to do with my previous iphone which was imported from the US.
    I was on meteor until recently and think they are generally the best value. They do reasonable data packages for both pre-pay and bill-pay accounts. Their coverage is also quite decent. Three do free skype-to-skype which might be worth looking into. Note that you would have buy a three handset to use that. (They dont support free skype on the iphone). I've just moved to three in the last week to get an iphone 4. However I'm finding the coverage quite patchy so far. I've been with vodafone and o2 in the past however they tend to more expensive.
    Yes - it would cost double for the two phones. Not sure if they provide a family discount. I doubt that you would get a such a discount for two phones but it might be worth asking!
    Oooh thats tricky one. Makes picking a mobile operator and price plan look easy :)
    A good place to start is here ( Its a goveremnet run site to allow you easily compare all of the options. A simple overview can be got here (
    Price wise you could pay from €350 for the most basic cover upto thousands a year. I pay about €800 a year for VHI "Company Plan Plus" which gives me a semi-private room in most of the hospitals and day to day cover (i.e. trips to the doctor, physio, specialists). This plan isnt publically sold so you have to ask for it. Some plans may offer "day to day" cover but the excess is so high that you would never able to claim for it.
    One problem you might run into is an exclusion period of about 6 months where you might not be able to claim.
    A good place to find out more on this is askaboutmoney. You'll also find out info about bank accounts etc there.
    No worries. I can appreciate that it must be a daunting task for you! Check out askaboutmoney or send me an email if have any more questions.
    Do you have any idea where you are going to live?
  5. NeutiquamErro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    Wow, Dave. As we say across the pond, you da man! Thank you so much for all of that thorough and insightful information. It gives me a huge head-start in making these big budgetary decisions.

    As for cell phones, I think we'll probably go with Meteor so that my wife and I don't have to cart around two phones with us. They have some incredibly cheap plans without data packages (we won't be using that on our iPhones anyway, as long as we have Wi-Fi).

    As for the health insurance, I'm still a little confused. To be honest, I'm not sure what "excess" or "convalescence" are, and I'm not sure what good amounts for those values might be. Dave, here's what I'll do... I'll give you the inside scoop on our financial situation and humbly request your advice on the best course of action.

    As my wife will be attending school at Trinity College in Dublin, we decided to get married housing through Trinity, mainly because the apartments are furnished. As a result, we'll be staying approximately 2 kilometers south of the school in Dartry. Rent and utilities will be around 950 euros each month. We took out federal loans, which will pay for tuition and fees in their entirety. I just got a approved for a work holiday visa yesterday, so I plan on working while my wife goes to school. Working full-time on minimum wage (8.65 euros, I believe), I'll be making around 1,500 euros per month. That being said, we don't have much leftover for insurance, groceries, phone bills and other purchases.

    As far as health insurance is concerned, I'd just like basic coverage without having to pay ridiculous amounts when we need to visit the doctor for colds or something similar, or when we need to purchase prescription meds. As far as fancy hospital rooms are concerned, we aren't picky. At all.

    So there you have it. Our situation is clearly one of financial difficulty. I just want to do my part by taking care of my wife physically and financially, and as an American that hasn't ever left the country, your advice would be hugely appreciated. That being said, what plan would you recommend?

    On another note, do you have any job advice? I scored a job at a GameStop here in the States this summer with the hope of transferring to one of the seven GameStops in Dublin come September. If that plan falls through, what would you recommend?

    Once again, Dave, you are saint.
  6. Badfoot macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2009
    London, UK
    Normally Uni's (Trinity) have an admin person(s) who deal with all these aspects (re health etc) for 'foreign' students, have you contacted them?
  7. davegreene macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    No problem :)
    I'd say just get two meteor pre-pay sims. You wont have the hassle of setting up a billpay account which will require bank accounts, proof of address etc.
    I think one of the pre-pay packages does free meteor-to-meteor calls or texts so would enable to contact the wife for free.
    Its the amount that that you have to pay before the insurance kicks in. e.g. you have some trip to the hospital that costs €300. If the excess is €250 you only get €50 from the insurance company. Its varies hugely - on my current plan its €1. Before it used to be €400.
    Anyway, thinking about it some more it might worth looking into getting "Extended travel insurance" rather than trying to start a new health insurance policy. I can imagine that not being an Irish citizen could make it tricky to set up ( I could be wrong though). That what I had done when I was working in San Diego for a summer.
    Trinity should have some sort of support for you on this. I would definitely get contact with them about it.
    There are two GameStops that are handy for you location wise - Rathmines and Stephens Green. As the acamedic year will be starting up when you arrive I wouldnt hang around looking for a job. There will be a fair bit of competition! is worth a look.

    Living in Dartry you'll probably be using the Luas lots so look into getting a smart card or student discount card.
  8. soyverde, Aug 12, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  9. NeutiquamErro thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2007
    We can certainly try. I do know that we must have Irish health insurance, as opposed to Extended Travel Insurance from the States. The International Student Handbook mentions VHI, Quinn and Hiberian Aviva as good options, but that's about it. I'll have my wife email the university.

    Hmm... I suppose I'll just cancel with AT&T just before we leave and shop around for the best pre-pay plan in Dublin during our first few days. I'll also be sure to purchase a Student Travel Card for my wife.

    Those are the two stores I scoped out with Google Maps last month. We'll be arriving on a Friday morning and I plan on starting the job hunt the following Monday. I'll just keep looking until I find something. That website looks like an excellent resource!

    I know I sound like a broken record, but thank you all for the information. I'll finally be able to relax when we're moved with everything set up for the year. It's really weird walking into a season of life that you know will change you forever. How does one prepare for something like that? I suppose you just walk into that transforming unknown and let it do its thing.

    Anyway, here are a few other questions.

    • How would you describe the Irish government? My wife and I, as well as many of our friends, aren't too thrilled with the American government right now, so we're interested in the upcoming change in the political landscape.
    • In regards to cell phone plans, what is "topping off?" In America, we only use that expression when pumping gas or when ordering that last beer of the evening.
    • Speaking of which: what are, in your opinion, some of the best Irish beers? You know, the ones that we might never order without an experienced recommendation?
    • Which would you recommend: using the LUAS exclusively or buying a few bikes once we arrive? I'm sure we'll need to use the LUAS on rainy days (which is most of them, from what I hear), but do you think bikes be a good investment?

    That's all I have for now.
  10. davegreene macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2010
    Oops - sorry I missed your reply until now.
    Ha - incompetent and corrupt would probably sum the Irish government quite nicely. You'll see something in the news everyday to back that up.
    I think you mean "topping up" which just means adding credit to pre-pay account.
    Er .. well I dont normally drink Irish beer, but a decent pint of Guinness would be a good start. Definitely check out some of the microbreweryies in Dublin: The Porterhouse, The Bull and Castle, and Messrs Maguires that I know of.
    Bikes are handy. I cycle to work most days. It does rain the odd time :) which can put some people off cycling. Today is the first day in a few weeks where there has been rain on my morning commute. Obviously getting into winter it will be worse but its not as bad as people make out.
    Dublin isn't the most bike friendly city so you'd want to be pretty confident and/or aggressive cycling around. is probably a good place to start looking for a 2nd hand bike.

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