Virgin Mobile offers 5G coverage from Vodafone, along with 99% 4G, 3G & 2G coverage (either from Vodafone or EE).
At present, Virgin Mobile 5G plan customers will get their coverage from Vodafone. Meanwhile, 4G plan customers continue to get their coverage from EE. By early 2022, all Virgin Mobile customers are due to be using coverage from Vodafone instead of coverage from EE.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you’re able to check Virgin Mobile’s coverage in your area, both for 5G plan customers and older 4G plan customers. We’ll then discuss the individual types of coverage in more detail, including the speeds you can expect on Virgin Mobile. Finally, we’ll look at the international coverage should you like to use Virgin Mobile when you travel abroad.
Virgin Mobile Coverage Map
- Virgin Mobile 5G plan customers include those with a 5G-ready Android Pay Monthly phone purchased from Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile SIM-only plans taken out since the 25th January 2021. You’ll have access to coverage from Vodafone on this plan (including 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G).
- Virgin Mobile 4G plan customers include those with an iPhone, those with a 4G Pay Monthly phone and Virgin Mobile SIM-only customers who joined before the 25th January 2021. You’ll have coverage from EE on your plan (4G, 3G and 2G) with a move to Vodafone’s network due before early 2022.
The easiest way to check the coverage in your area is using Virgin Mobile’s online coverage map. You’ll need to answer a couple of questions to determine the type of plan you have, before entering your postcode to see the coverage that’s available where you live:
Even if you’re currently signing up for a new 4G plan on Virgin Mobile, it might be worth checking the coverage that’s available on 5G plans. That’s because 4G plans will only have coverage from EE in the short-term. All 4G plan customers are due to migrate to using Vodafone coverage before early 2022.
Virgin Mobile Coverage Overview
In the UK, Virgin Mobile currently offers four different types of coverage:
|Virgin Mobile Coverage Type||Coverage Level||Supported Bands & Frequencies|
|5G Coverage||✔ 100 towns and cities (5G plans only)||
|4G Coverage||✔ 99% population coverage
(with 4G Calling on selected plans & handsets)
|3G Coverage||✔ 99% population coverage||
|2G Coverage||✔ 99% population coverage||
Virgin Mobile 5G Coverage
Virgin Media launched their 5G mobile service in January 2021, with 5G coverage currently available in 100 towns and cities across the UK.
If you’re connected to Virgin Media’s 5G service and are using a 5G-ready plan, you’ll have access to an average download speed of 176Mbps on Virgin’s 5G network. This is around 4.5 times faster than Virgin’s 4G network, which offers an average download speed of 37Mbps.
Virgin Media’s 5G network is powered by coverage from Vodafone and is available in all of the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||100 towns and cities are live on Virgin Mobile 5G (May 2021)|
Aberdeen, Alexandria, Ambleside, Aughton, Basingstoke, Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopbriggs, Blaydon, Bolton, Bootle, Bournemouth, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheadle, Cheltenham, Chesterfield, Clydebank, Crawley, Crosby, Dewsbury, Dinas Powys, Droylsden, Dudley, Dundee, Eccles, Edinburgh, Eston and South Bank, Felling, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gosforth, Guildford, Hebburn, Helensburgh, Horwich, Huddersfield, Hull, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Jarrow, Killingworth, Kingswood, Lancaster, Leeds, Lisburn, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Longbenton, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Middlesbrough, Morley, Mosborough, Newbury, Newcastle, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Oldbury, Paisley, Penarth, Pendlebury, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Prescot, Prestwich, Pudsey, Rawmarsh, Reading, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sheffield, Shipley, Solihull, South Shields, Southampton, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stranraer, Stretford, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swansea, Swinton, Tynemouth, Urmston, Wallasey, Wallsend, Warrington, Washington, Whitley Bay, Wolverhampton, York
|1 towns and cities planned|
As well as having access to faster download speeds on 5G, you’ll also benefit from more network capacity and lower latency when using Virgin’s 5G network. The Virgin Mobile 5G network uses band n78 (3500MHz) spectrum.
Virgin Mobile 4G Coverage
In the UK, Virgin Mobile offers 99% population coverage on their 4G network. However, to complicate things, the exact locations where you’ll be able to get a 4G signal will depend on the type of Virgin Mobile plan that you have. On their 5G-ready plans, the 4G coverage is provided by Vodafone. Meanwhile, on older 4G-only plans, this is still being provided by EE until the end of the year.
To check the 4G coverage where you live, go to Virgin Mobile’s online coverage map. You’ll need to answer a couple of questions to figure out the type of plan you have, before you’re able to enter your postcode to see the coverage in your area.
If you’re using a Virgin Mobile 4G plan, you’ll be able to access an average download speed of 37Mbps and an average upload speed of 13Mbps. The maximum download speed available is 85Mbps and the maximum upload speed available is 35Mbps. The exact speeds you get will vary depending on location and based on factors like the amount of available capacity at your nearest mobile mast.
Virgin Mobile 3G Coverage
On Virgin Media’s 3G network, you’ll be able to call, text and browse the internet with 99% population coverage across the UK. You can get up to dual-carrier HSPA+ speeds (up to 42Mbps), though download speeds will more typically be in the region of about 4Mbps.
It can still be important to have 3G coverage in your area for calling and text. That’s because your Virgin Mobile phone will drop back to 3G whenever you make or receive a phone call (unless you’re using a device that supports Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling).
The 3G coverage on Virgin Mobile is either provided by Vodafone or EE, depending on whether you have a 4G or 5G plan.
Virgin Mobile 2G Coverage
In the UK, Virgin Mobile also offers 99% population coverage on 2G. This allows you to make and receive phone calls and text messages, as well as browsing the internet at dial-up speeds (up to 0.3Mbps).
Nowadays, 2G coverage is rarely used by customers on Virgin Mobile. However, it remains a useful backup for when newer types of coverage are not available.
Virgin Mobile’s UK network is notable for being the world’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). When they first launched in 1999, they offered 2G coverage from the One2One network (later known as T-Mobile before they merged with Orange to become EE).
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.
Upcoming Merger With O2
In May 2020, Virgin Media agreed to merge with O2. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently carrying out an investigation into this and is due to announce their decision on whether to allow it around the middle of 2021.
It’s currently unknown how the Virgin Media and O2 merger will affect Virgin Mobile customers if it continues. They’ve announced an intention for Virgin Mobile customers to eventually transition to using O2 coverage. However, as of 2021, they’re still continuing with the process of moving their customers from EE coverage to Vodafone coverage. If the merger goes ahead, it’s possible we’ll see another migration in the next few years.
Frequently Asked Questions
|How can I check Virgin Mobile’s coverage in my area?||
The easiest way to check Virgin Mobile’s coverage in your area is by using their online coverage map. You’ll need to answer a couple of questions about the type of plan you have before entering your postcode to see the coverage where you live.
|Does Virgin Mobile offer any 5G coverage?||
Yes. Virgin Mobile now offers 5G coverage using the Vodafone network. You’ll need to have a 5G phone to get access to it.
|What types of coverage will I get on Virgin Mobile?||
Virgin Mobile currently offers four different types of coverage in the UK:
|Will I get coverage from Vodafone or EE on my Virgin Mobile plan?||
If you have a Virgin Mobile 5G plan, you’ll receive all of your coverage from Vodafone instead of EE. This includes your 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile coverage.
If you have a Virgin Mobile 4G plan, you’ll continue receiving coverage from EE until later in 2021. All 4G plan customers are expected to be moved to using Vodafone coverage by early 2022.
There’s more information here on how to find out which type of price plan you have.
|How will the upcoming merger with O2 affect coverage on Virgin Mobile?||
It’s currently unknown how the proposed merger between Virgin Media and O2 will affect coverage for customers on Virgin Mobile. Although Virgin Media has stated the intention to migrate to O2’s network, they’re still continuing with the planned switchover from EE to Vodafone in 2021.