What You Need to Know
Virgin Mobile was one of the first UK networks to offer service using the coverage of another network. Known for their split tariffs, the network offers added flexibility in choosing plans and upgrading your devices. As of December 2015, the network had roughly 3.1 million subscribers.
Virgin Mobile offers both pay monthly and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) service. Pay monthly tariffs range between £6 and £25 depending on the phone and features you need. PAYG plans range between £10 and £15.
They support a wide range of unlocked handsets with coverage for 2G, 3G and 4G across the UK if you already own a mobile phone. If you need a new phone, their device prices are reasonable and monthly phone tariffs make it easy to manage costs. Most Virgin Mobile phones are also unlocked, making it simple to switch between networks or travel with your Virgin Mobile phone.
- Great plan flexibility
- Good phone selection
- No-contract tariffs available
- 4G access
- Early upgrade options
- Free public Wi-Fi access
- Pricey roaming outside the EU
- No tethering
- No interest phone financing
- Free Wi-Fi Hotspot Access: Available in more than 250,000 locations (including the Underground) free Wi-Fi access means less worries about weak signals or data usage while you’re out.
- Split Tariffs: Most carriers bundle your phone financing with your monthly tariff. By splitting them, Virgin Mobile allows you to upgrade phones more often and switch your tariff whenever you want.
- Data Rollover: Pay monthly plans include one month of data rollover to add flexibility to your tariff.
Awards and Recognitions
- Uses the EE network, ranked highest for 4G download speeds, overall download speeds, overall latency and 4G availability in OpenSignal's "State of Mobile Networks: UK (April 2017)".
- Uses the EE network, #1 in Ookla’s 2016 Speedtest Market Report UK for both upload and download speeds
- Uses the EE network, #1 in every region for OpenSignal’s 2016 UK State of the Mobile Network report for 4G availability
- Uses the EE network, awarded lowest latency among major networks in OpenSignal’s 2016 UK State of the Mobile Network report for 3G and 4G coverage areas
- Uses the EE network, #1 in overall download speeds in OpenSignal’s 2016 UK State of the Mobile Network report
- Uses the EE network, awarded fastest 4G download and upload speeds in Ofcom’s 2016 Smartphone Cities report
How's the Network Coverage and Speed?
Virgin Mobile uses the EE network to deliver service throughout the UK. According to the EE site, their 4G network now covers 75% of the UK landmass and 99% of the population. They plan to push landmass coverage to 99% by 2020.
You can check coverage and network types in your area at their support page.
In the 2016 “Speedtest Market Report UK”, Virgin Mobile ranked first for both upload and download speeds. Uploads averaged 12 Mbits per second while downloads averaged 33 Mbits per second.
OpenSignal's April 2017 "State of Mobile Networks: UK" report shows 3G download speeds of 6Mbits per second and 4G download speeds of 32Mbits per second.
This is a slight improvement over last year's data. OpenSignal’s 2016 “State of the Mobile Network UK” report showed average 4G download speeds of 28 Mbits per second and 3G download speeds of 6 Mbits per second.
Finally, Ofcom’s 2016 “Smartphone Cities” report shows overall download speeds across 8 of the UK’s major cities averaging 32 Mbits per second.
Do They Charge Roaming Fees?
Both Pay Monthly and PAYG tariffs include roaming within the EU at no additional charge.
However, there are limitations:
- Time majority of time and usage over a roling 4-month period must take place in the UK
- Data usage is subject to fair usage limitations
- Roaming is not included to Switzerland, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Monaco
Exact data limits are based on current EU data wholesale rates. We recommend contacting Virgin Mobile to find out the exact figure before you travel to avoid any unexpected surcharges.
For more information on EU roaming, consult their Staying Connected with Virgin Mobile page.
Outside the EU, data, voice and messaging rates vary by destination. Data usage is capped at £36 as well to avoid bill shock.
For full details on pay monthly roaming options and fees, consult their Roaming Costs page.
What About Long Distance Fees?
All Virgin Mobile plans include calling to mobiles and landlines in the UK with your monthly minute balance.
Pay monthly fees for calls outside the UK range between 60p and £1.50 per minute depending on your destination. You can find a list of rates on their Pay Monthly Call Charges page.
PAYG fees for calls outside the UK range between 26p and 82p per minute depending on your destination. You can find a list of rates on their PAYG Call Charges page.
Does Virgin Mobile Offer Wi-Fi Calling?
No. Virgin Mobile does not support native Wi-Fi calling or offer a Wi-Fi calling app.
How About Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?
Can I Tether My Mobile?
No. In Virgin Mobile’s Terms of Service, they say:
“Data usage on some Virgin Media tariffs is for mobile internet services and data consumption actually on your handset. It does not include using your handset as a modem to connect other devices such as laptops and tablets - also known as "Tethering". Please refer to your terms and conditions and other communications from Virgin Media to check whether this applies on your tariff. This applies to all new and upgrading customers since 24 January 2013.”
Can I Rollover Unused Data?
Pay monthly subscribers can rollover unused data for one month. Any remaining data will expire the month following the rollover.
For additional information, consult Virgin Mobile’s Data Rollover page.
What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?
Outside of Travel Passes for roaming data, Virgin Mobile does not offer any add-ons or bundles.
Can I Bring My Own Mobile?
Yes! Their network supports 2G, 3G and 4G phones. Most unlocked phones from the past several years will work without issue.
You’ll find a full list of pay monthly, PAYG and mobile data plans on their SIMs page.
Do They Require a Credit Check?
All UK pay monthly plans require a credit check. PAYG bundles do not require a credit check if you already have a phone or pay for a new phone in full.
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must have a UK credit or financial history
If you’re on the electoral roll at your address and have good credit, this can help to both speed up the credit check process and reduce the chance of needing to pay a large deposit.
To perform the check, Virgin Mobile will likely ask for:
- Your name, date of birth and marital status
- Your current address and other addresses in the past 3 years
- A credit/debit card or bank account registered to your current address
Virgin Mobile checks Equifax.
NOTE: Credit checks from networks that pull your credit bureau report may impact your credit score. If you're not sure the best options for your credit profile, we suggest contacting the network before attempting to obtain service.
Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?
If you are on a pay monthly tariff and want to cancel your service before the end of your term, you will be incur an early termination fee equal to roughly 46% of your remaining monthly payments.
However, they note that they reserve the right to alter the percentage based on usage and to reflect changes in their costs.
In Virgin Mobile’s Terms of Service, they state:
“2.2 Minimum Term: When we agree to make the Services available to you, we will agree whether your contract is pay Monthly or Pay Monthly SIM Only and the Minimum Term applicable to your contract. This Agreement will continue for at least the Minimum Term although you may cancel it during the Minimum Term in accordance with clause 10.1. You should be aware that if you cancel before the end of the Minimum Term you may have to pay early termination fees.”
You might also incur additional fees if you financed a device or received a subsidy.
Can I Port My Number To or From Virgin Mobile?
All mobile networks in the UK must provide a PAC Code upon request. Giving this code to a new network will allow you to transfer your number.
To port your number to or from Virgin Mobile, contact customer support and request your PAC code. They must deliver your PAC code within 2 hours of your request.
To receive your PAC code:
- The account you are trying to transfer from must remain open.
- You must be able to verify your identity through either personal documents or payment history
Once you receive your code, contact Virgin Mobile or your new network and give them the code. In most cases, your number will transfer within 1 to 2 business days. Be sure to complete this process quickly, as PAC codes expire 30 days from the date they are issued.
Will They Unlock My Mobile?
Pay monthly phones from Virgin Mobile are sold unlocked.
If you have a PAYG phone, you’ll need to pay a £15.32 unlocking fee.
Virgin Mobile notes that the process might take up to 5 business days.
The only way to start the unlocking process is to call Virgin Mobile at 0345 6000 789 or dial 789 from your Virgin Mobile phone.
For other questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Virgin Mobile Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!
If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.
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03456000789 (or 789 from your cell)
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Review Sources and Citations
Reviews.com, Tom's Guide, Top Ten Reviews, broadbandchoices, Three Thrifty Guys, Expert Reviews, 4G.co.uk, Ken's Tech Tips, MoneySavingPro, Cable, Ken's Tech Tips
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