Virgin Mobile currently offers 4G coverage from EE, with a switch to O2 coverage expected in 2021.
In the UK, Virgin Mobile currently offers 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from the EE network. This represents 99% population coverage, with download speeds of up to 85Mbit/s available on the service. As of July 2020, the average download speed on Virgin Mobile’s 4G service is 37Mbit/s. The average upload speed available is 13Mbit/s.
Virgin Mobile’s agreement to use coverage from EE will come to an end in late 2021. When this ends, it’s expected they’ll transition to using coverage from O2. This is assuming the proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2 is approved by regulatory authorities. As part of the network migration, Virgin Mobile customers will gain access to 5G coverage on the O2 network.
In this article, we’ll review the coverage that’s available on Virgin Mobile. We’ll start by looking at the Virgin Mobile coverage map before comparing the different types of coverage that are available. We’ll also look at international coverage for customers who want to use their mobile phone when travelling abroad.
Virgin Mobile Coverage Checker
Virgin provides an online mobile coverage map on their website. Enter your postcode on their online coverage map to see an estimate of the coverage available in your area:
The online coverage map will give you separate results for 2G, 3G and 4G coverage. Read on to find out more about the differences between each type of coverage.
At the moment, Virgin Mobile offers coverage from the EE network. Customers will therefore receive the same coverage as customers on EE (excluding 5G coverage which isn’t currently available to customers on Virgin).
Sometime in late 2021, Virgin Mobile is due to change their network coverage provider from EE to O2. To ensure you’re prepared for this, it may also be worth double-checking the Vodafone coverage where you live.
2G is the oldest type of coverage still available on Virgin Mobile. It’ll allow you to make and receive phone calls and SMS text messages. You can also use 2G coverage to browse the internet at dial-up speeds (up to 0.3Mbit/s).
Nowadays, 2G coverage is rarely used by customers on Virgin Mobile. However, it can still be useful as a backup for when 3G and 4G coverage are not available.
Virgin Mobile offers 99% population coverage in the UK, using 1800MHz coverage from the EE network.
Virgin Mobile also offers 99% population coverage on 3G, currently using the EE network. Virgin’s 3G coverage allows you to make and receive phone calls as well as SMS text messages and browsing the internet at dual-carrier HSPA+ speeds (up to 42Mbit/s). Even if you’re living in an area with access to 4G, it’s still important to have 3G coverage as your mobile phone will switch to 3G for phone calls.
You can check the 3G coverage available in your area on Virgin Mobile’s online coverage map.
By the end of 2021, it’s expected that Virgin Mobile’s 3G coverage will be provided by O2 rather than EE. When this happens, the level of 3G coverage available to you on Virgin Mobile may change.
At the moment, 4G is the fastest form of coverage available on Virgin Mobile. Available to around 99% of the UK population and covering around 95% of the UK’s landmass, the download speed on Virgin’s 4G service is capped at a maximum of 85Mbit/s. The upload speed on Virgin’s 4G service is capped at 35Mbit/s. For most people, these speed caps shouldn’t noticeably affect performance as you’ll only need about 5Mbit/s for streaming video in high-definition (or 25Mbit/s for 4K ultra high-definition video).
According to Virgin, the average download speed offered on 4G is currently 35Mbit/s and the average upload speed offered is currently 13Mbit/s. Exact download speeds and upload speeds differ based on location and based on factors such as the amount of available capacity at your nearest mobile mast.
Unfortunately, 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling are not currently available to customers on Virgin Mobile. As of yet, Virgin have not announced any plans to make this service available to their customers.
By the end of 2021, Virgin Mobile is expected to change to providing 4G coverage from O2 rather than EE. At the time this changes, the level of 4G coverage that’s available to you may change.
Virgin Mobile 5G Coverage
At present, Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer any 5G coverage. However, this is due to change in the next two years as Virgin Mobile migrates to using coverage from O2 (with access to O2’s 5G network included).
At present, O2 offers 5G coverage in the following UK towns and cities. When Virgin Mobile get around to launching 5G using O2 coverage, it should be available in at least all of the following locations:
|Now Live||60 towns and cities are live on O2 5G (August 2020)|
Aberdeen, Ashford, Banstead, Basildon, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Chatham, Chesterfield, Coventry, Dartford, Derby, Dundee, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Esher, Gateshead, Gillingham, Glasgow, Grays, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Lowestoft, Luton, Manchester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Rainham, Redhill, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, South Shields, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunbury, Sunderland, Thundersley, Warrington, Weybridge, Windsor, Worthing, York
|14 towns and cities planned|
Birkenhead, Cambridge, Hove, Kingston-upon-Thames, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Portsmouth, Southampton, Wolverhampton (Summer 2020)
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Eton, Guildford, Reading (January 2020)
For more information, see our guide to the coverage on O2. You can also read about the proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2.
If you’re travelling abroad with your Virgin Mobile handset or SIM card, it’s possible to use your mobile phone abroad through international roaming.
If you’re travelling to one of 43 European destinations, it’ll be possible to roam at no extra cost on Virgin. You can use your normal UK allowances in all of the following destinations:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, The French Antilles, Vatican City (Italy)
For customers travelling outside Europe, the costs of using your mobile phone abroad will depend on the country you’re visiting.
The availability of coverage abroad may also differ depending on the country you’re visiting. For customers who joined Virgin Mobile after December 2017, or customers who have swapped their Virgin SIM card since that date, it isn’t possible to use your mobile phone in Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Guam, Namibia, Northern Mariana Islands, Paraguay, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Vanuatu or Venezuela.
For more information about international coverage and roaming costs, please see the Virgin Mobile website.
For more information about coverage on Virgin, please see the official Virgin Mobile website.