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As with most mainstream mobile companies, Virgin Mobile offers a range of handsets from the latest Apple and Android models - in March 2021, the current top handsets are the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G - to more cost-friendly options. Virgin Mobile deals offer a ‘Freestyle’ type of contract on its phones, which allows you the same flexibility to change around as its SIM-only plans.
The way it works is that Virgin Media splits the contract into two Direct Debits, one of these is a 30-day rolling contract for your airtime and the like. On your contract, your monthly fee will be broken down into what you owe on the phone and then the cost of your SIM plan. This means you can change your SIM allowance and cost at any point, and also pay off what you owe on your handset and upgrade before your current contract is up. Virgin Mobile phones are also available on longer, three-year contracts (36 months), which allows them to offer some of the lowest monthly prices in the UK.
With some handsets, Virgin Mobile offers incentives like the Nintendo Switch and headphones, so it’s always worth checking these offers out as well.
Offering a wide variety of plans, ranging from a minimum of 1GB data with unlimited calls and texts to 100GB with unlimited calls and texts. Virgin SIM-only deals are compatible with any unlocked phone. Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer any pay as you go options, with the minimum contract sitting at 12 months. However, you’re not locked into your exact plan for 12 months, as Virgin Mobile allows you to change tariff.
Virgin Mobile offers coverage across 99% of the UK for its 4G network, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll lose signal wherever you are. Virgin Mobile also prides itself on having a faster 4G network than the other major market competitors. According to its website, Virgin Mobile claims you can download apps in less than 18 seconds and download 1GB files in less than four minutes using its superfast 4G speeds.
Virgin Media recently switched the network it piggybacks on to Vodafone.
When it comes to 4G, Virgin Mobile offers a maximum of 85Mbps download speed and 35Mbps upload speed, however, it's not often users get to access the max speeds with any mobile company. With that in mind, you should expect to get the average speed and not the maximum advertised.
Virgin Mobile’s average download speed is 37Mbps and 13Mbps for uploads, which is comparable to the speed of your standard home broadband. That means you’ll be able to comfortably use video streaming services like YouTube or Netflix, as well as audio streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. The only time you’re likely to be without a strong download stream is if you hit a blackspot, which can still happen occasionally even on the best of networks.
When it comes to 5G, you can expect average download speeds of 176.62Mbps but it is worth checking that you can get 5G in your area. There is a coverage checker on the official Virgin Mobile website.
Virgin Media now uses the Vodafone network for all new customers. Existing customers will still be on EE until the deal with them officially runs out near the end of 2021.
Perfect for those who travel often, Virgin Mobile allows you to use your monthly allowance in 43 destinations around the European Union at no extra cost, called its Roam Like Home feature. This includes calling and messaging EU mobile and home phones, to make staying connected to your loved ones all the easier. If you go over your allowance, you’ll pay the same amount that you would back in the UK.
There currently aren’t any countries outside the EU where Virgin Mobile allows you to use your monthly allowance at no extra cost. If you do use roaming while travelling outside the EU, you’ll be charged a premium price. However, Virgin Mobile will automatically cap your data roaming usage, unless you tell them otherwise. Virgin Mobile currently has no plans to change its roaming T&Cs (as of March 2021) even though the UK is now officially out of the EU.
Whether you’re inside the EU or not, Virgin Mobile implements a fair usage policy that states you must use more data, calls and texts within a four-month period in the UK than abroad.
If you’re planning on using international roaming with Virgin Mobile for the first time, you should log onto your Virgin Mobile account before you travel and make sure international call barring is switched off, and roaming is switched on. If you want to use your phone as soon as you land, this is the best way to avoid any delays.
Virgin Mobile has won awards for its customer service in the past, making it a good one to consider if service is important to you. It also has a range of help articles available on its website, covering topics from ‘Faults with your Virgin Phone’ to ‘Trouble logging into your Virgin Mobile account’.
For those who prefer to ask questions without waiting on the phone, Virgin Media offers an online chat system. As well as this, it has a community forum where anyone can post questions to the community, chat to other customers and members of the Virgin Media team, as well as read tips, hints and other helpful answers from questions asked previously.
Both Virgin Mobile calls and texts to customer service lines are free, and operate 7 days a week:
From any Virgin landline or mobile you can simply call 150.
If you’re someone who’s constantly chatting to friends and family on the phone, you’ll be pleased to know Virgin Mobile offers data-free messaging across WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. This isn’t exclusively for written messages, but also includes videos and photos sent through these social apps as well. Voice and video calls through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, however, are not included and will come out of your data allowance.
Across the UK, Virgin Mobile offers free Wi-Fi to customers in over 3.5 million hotspots dotted around cities. This includes 250+ London Underground stations and 79 London Overground stations. Virgin Mobile also provides 20 million hotspots across the world. All you need to do is download the Virgin Media Connect app (available for free on both the App Store and Google Play) and get connected.
Taking advantage of those 3.5 million hotspots around the UK, you can use Virgin Media Wi-Fi calling and texting for mobiles anywhere you’re connected to data but have no signal. This is included in your monthly allowance, meaning you don’t need to pay any extra to use this feature.
As Virgin Media offers free Wi-Fi on many London Overground and Underground stations, you can continue calling and texting even when commuting without your signal unexpectedly dropping out.
Virgin Mobile offers a HD calling feature, which means if you’re calling someone else that also has HD calling, you can hear each other in a higher resolution so your conversations will be clearer and easier to hear. HD calling is available when using both your regular minutes and Wi-Fi calling.
If you’re someone who’s prone to breaking or losing their phone, you might want to consider adding Virgin Media Protect if you purchase one of its Pay Monthly phones. Acting as a type of phone insurance, Virgin Media Protect offers next day replacement (when making a claim within mainland Great Britain) for broken or stolen phones, as well as worldwide coverage. All you need to do is make a claim through the website.
The Virgin Media app is available on both the App Store and Google Play, and you can keep track of all your Virgin services through it, not just your mobile plan. You can check your previous bills for the past 12 months and keep an eye on service issues, as well as double-check what’s included in your phone plan. If you’re not already paying by direct debit, you can even make payments through the app.
Virgin Mobile offers a referrals scheme that encourages its customers to sign their friends and family up to Virgin Mobile. Customers can register their email address for a unique referral link, and if someone uses their referral link to make a purchase with Virgin Mobile, they’ll both receive a cash reward after 28 days (the length of Virgin Mobile’s cancellation period).
Worried about security threats on your device? All Virgin Mobile’s pay monthly phone plans come with an added bonus of a free 12-month subscription to F-Secure SAFE, which works to protect your device from viruses, protects passwords and scans apps for threats.
Virgin Mobile is one of the few major mobile networks that offers data rollover on all of its plans. This means that if you have any of your data allowance left at the end of the month, Virgin Mobile will roll it on over to your allowance for the next month, so you’ve got more time to use it and less wastage.
Unused data can only be rolled over to the following month, so it won’t keep accumulating over a long time period. However, any rolled-over data will be used up before your new monthly allowance, which can help you use this feature to its maximum benefit.
Offering a little peace of mind to its Pay Monthly customers, Virgin Mobile lets you set spending caps on monthly plans to prevent you from overspending. This feature is perfect for those on a budget, or for parents purchasing a plan for their child.
When you get close to reaching your set monthly allowance, Virgin Mobile will text you to let you know. Once you reach the cap, you won’t be able to use any further data until it refreshes or you choose to increase your cap. However, some changes to spending caps might not come into effect until the next month. This will ensure you don’t receive an unexpectedly large bill at the end of the month.
None of Virgin Mobile’s 4G or 5G plans are subject to any traffic management policies, so your data speeds won’t be throttled by Virgin Mobile during high-traffic times. If you use more than your monthly allowance, you’ll still be able to access data at the regular speeds, however, you will have to pay for the extra service.
Virgin Mobile does run credit checks before it approves any phone contracts. So if you’ve got a poor rating you might not be eligible for a long term contract.
Yes, this is through its new contract with Vodafone. There is a coverage checker on the site to see if where you are in the country has 5G connectivity.
If you’ve also got a Virgin Media TV and broadband package, you’ll benefit from free unlimited calls to other Virgin Mobiles when you sign up as a mobile customer, as a thank you from the company for utilising all its services.