Virgin Mobile offers 4G & 5G plans with data rollover, Freestyle contracts and data-free messaging.
In the UK, Virgin Mobile offers 4G and 5G mobile plans, both on a SIM-only basis and with a new Pay Monthly phone. Customers with a 4G plan will have coverage from EE, whereas customers with a Virgin Mobile 5G plan will have coverage from Vodafone.
All Virgin Mobile customers have access to data rollover on their plan as well as data-free messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. For customers buying a Pay Monthly phone, there’s also a Freestyle contract giving you the flexibility to change your phone or airtime.
In this article, we’ll review the Virgin Mobile network. We’ll start by looking at the price plans available on Virgin, including their Oomph price plans where you get a mobile SIM card included with Virgin Media broadband. We’ll then look at the features of Virgin Mobile before investigating the coverage available and what the upcoming merger with O2 means for Virgin Mobile customers. Finally, we’ll look at how you can keep your current phone number when moving to the Virgin Media network.
- 1 Virgin Mobile Plans
- 2 Virgin Mobile Features
- 3 Network & Coverage
- 4 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 More Information
Virgin Mobile Plans
SIM Only Plans
In the UK, Virgin Media currently offers a range of SIM-only plans starting from £6/month. You can choose from a range of different data allowances, either on a 12-month contract or on a 24-month contract.
All of the SIM-only plans include data rollover for unused allowances as well as data-free messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter.
The following table shows SIM-only plans currently available from Virgin Media:
|To show you the most relevant plans, 18 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
Virgin’s £18/month unlimited data plan is exclusive to Virgin Media broadband and TV customers. If you’re not a Virgin Media broadband or TV customer, the largest data plan you’ll be able to choose is 100GB per month.
If you have multiple SIM cards attached to your Virgin Media account, you’ll get a £2/month discount when adding additional SIM cards to Virgin Media’s Family Plan.
Virgin Media Oomph Plans
When you sign up to Virgin Media’s home broadband service, you’ll be given the option to upgrade it to an Oomph plan.
With Oomph, you’ll get a Virgin Mobile SIM card included with your Virgin Media plan. This will give you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of data (either 2GB per month, 5GB per month or unlimited data depending on your plan).
You’ll also get a broadband speed boost, which upgrades you to the next fastest home broadband plan (e.g. you’ll get M100 instead of M50 broadband). There’s also a promise to keep you connected with unlimited data on your Virgin Mobile SIM card should your home broadband service go down.
If you’d like a new mobile phone, you can buy a handset from Virgin Media on a choice of either a 24-month or 36-month plan. A range of handsets are currently available from manufacturers including Apple, Huawei, Samsung, Sony and more.
When you take a Pay Monthly contract from Virgin Mobile, it’ll be offered to you on a flexible Freestyle contract. This contract is split into two separate parts: a phone plan that lasts for either 24 months or 36 months, and an airtime plan that comes on a 30-day rolling contract. Because of the flexible airtime plan, you can change your monthly allowances each month (e.g. getting a plan with more or less data).
Pay As You Go
In the past, Virgin Mobile has also offered a Pay As You Go service. With this, they previously offered JAM Pack bundles from £10/month with 3G coverage from the EE network. Unfortunately, the Pay As You Go service closed in July 2020 so is no longer available, either to new or existing customers.
Virgin Mobile Features
All Virgin Mobile Pay Monthly customers will get data rollover as a standard feature of their price plan. This gives you a second chance to use the data on your plan.
To give an example, if you have 2GB of remaining unused data on a 5GB price plan, your data allowance the following month would be increased to 7GB. Furthermore, your rolled over data will always be used first before your regular data.
Only your regular data allowance can be rolled over and not any promotional data included in your plan. Data can also be rolled over for a maximum of one month only. See the Virgin Media website for more information.
If you buy a mobile phone on contract from Virgin, it will come on a flexible Freestyle plan. This plan will be split into two separate components:
- Your phone plan lasts for 24 months or 36 months. This is essentially a consumer credit agreement where you’ll pay for your handset over a period of 24 to 36 months. There’s no interest charged on this agreement. You can upgrade your handset at any time by paying off the remainder of this plan.
- Your airtime plan is a 30-day rolling contract. This allows you to change your airtime plan each month, either to increase or decrease the amount of data you get. Your airtime plan is subject to annual RPI price increase.
To give an example, it costs £32/month at the time of writing for an iPhone 11 with 8GB of data per month. This is structured as £22/month for your phone (spread over 36 months) plus £10/month for your airtime.
Note that you’ll sometimes be better off buying an unlocked handset yourself and getting a Virgin Mobile SIM card for it. For instance, the total amount payable over 36 months is currently £792 on your Virgin Mobile handset plan. This compares to an unlocked price of £729 if you were to buy the handset on an unlocked basis. You can then get a Virgin Mobile SIM card with an equivalent amount of data for £8/month.
See the Virgin Media website for a list of the handsets they offer and the price plans currently available.
All Virgin Media plans come with Data-Free Messaging through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. This means you can use these services to stay in touch with friends and family without it counting towards your download allowance.
Regular instant messaging through these apps, as well as photo and video sharing are included in this offer. Voice and video calls made through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are not included within the Data-Free Messaging offer.
Virgin Media Wi-Fi
As a Virgin Mobile customer, you’ll get access to free Wi-Fi at 3.5 million hotspots across the UK. This includes Wi-Fi connectivity at 250 London Underground stations, 79 London Overground stations and all Glasgow Subway stations. You’ll also be able to use over 20 million Wi-Fi hotspots when abroad in countries like the USA.
You’ll need to install the Virgin Media Connect application to get access to these public Wi-Fi hotspots.
If you’re a Virgin Media broadband customer, you’ll already have access to these Wi-Fi hotspots as part of your Virgin Media broadband plan.
Network & Coverage
2G, 3G & 4G Coverage
On Virgin Mobile, you’ll get 99% population coverage on 2G, 3G and 4G. This will either be provided to you using coverage from Vodafone or EE.
- If you’re a Virgin Mobile 5G plan customer, you’ll get 99% population coverage from Vodafone’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks in the UK.
- If you’re a Virgin Mobile 4G plan customer, you’ll currently have 99% population coverage on EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Later in 2021, this will transition to using coverage from Vodafone.
Before ordering a phone or SIM card from Virgin Mobile, it’s worth double-checking the coverage in your area using the Virgin Mobile coverage map:
For more information, see our guide to Virgin Mobile’s network and coverage.
If you have a 5G plan from Virgin Mobile, you’ll be able to access 5G coverage in 100 UK towns and cities.
According to Virgin Media, their 5G service gives an average download speed of 177Mbps. This is around 4.5 times faster than 4G service.
Virgin Mobile’s 5G network is currently available in the following towns and cities:
|Now Live||100 towns and cities are live on Virgin Mobile 5G (January 2022)|
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
For more information, see our guide to Virgin Mobile 5G.
Upcoming Merger With O2
In May 2020, Virgin Media agreed to merge with O2. This merger is set to complete around the middle of 2021, subject to approval from competition authorities.
Once the merger has taken place, Virgin Media is likely to review the coverage provider for their mobile service. They’ve already announced the intention for Virgin Mobile to eventually transition to using coverage from O2. Despite this, they’re continuing with the planned transition of their service to using coverage from Vodafone instead of EE in 2021.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s often used as a convenient way of getting access to mobile broadband on your other devices.
On Virgin Mobile, it’s been possible to tether on all price plans since April 2018. Data that’s been consumed through tethering or personal hotspot will be deducted from your mobile data allowance as normal.
When you’re travelling abroad to other countries, you can continue using your Virgin Mobile service through international roaming.
If you’re travelling to one of 43 European destinations, you can use your normal UK plan allowances at no extra cost. This includes the minutes, texts and data on your plan (subject to a monthly fair usage policy on data when abroad).
If you’re travelling to a country outside of Europe, roaming charges will be substantially higher. You can check the international roaming rates for your destination on the Virgin Media website.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another mobile network to Virgin, it’s a straightforward process keeping your current phone number.
To start with, you’ll need to request a PAC Code from your current network. This is available free of charge through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. Your current provider is legally obliged to send you a PAC Code within 60 seconds of your request.
Once you have the PAC Code from your old network, order your new phone or SIM card from the Virgin Media website. You can either provide the PAC Code to Virgin during the sign-up process, or you can give it to them once your service is live. Your phone number transfer will normally be scheduled for the next working day after you provide your PAC Code.
For a step-by-step guide on how to transfer your phone number to Virgin Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:
Frequently Asked Questions
|What price plans and offers are available on Virgin Mobile?||
On Virgin Mobile, you can currently choose from the following types of price plan:
Unfortunately, Pay As You Go is no longer available on Virgin Mobile.
|Does Virgin Mobile offer 5G coverage?||
Yes. Virgin Mobile offers a 5G service in 100 UK towns and cities, using coverage from Vodafone.
|What coverage does Virgin Mobile currently offer?|
|What download speeds are available on Virgin Mobile?||
On Virgin Mobile 5G plans, you can access an average download speed of 177Mbps when you’re connected to Virgin’s 5G network.
On Virgin Mobile’s 4G plans, you can access an average download speed of 37Mbps and an average upload speed of 13Mbps. The maximum speed is capped at 85Mbps download and 35Mbps upload.
|How does the upcoming merger with O2 affect Virgin Mobile?||
Subject to regulatory approval, Virgin Media is planning to merge with O2 in mid-2021. It’s currently unknown what impact this will have in the future on Virgin Mobile customers. In the mean time, they’re continuing with the planned migration of their customers from using EE coverage to using Vodafone coverage.
|What features are included on Virgin Mobile?||
All Virgin Mobile customers will have access to data rollover (giving you a second chance to use your data) and data-free messaging (allowing you to use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter without consuming any data). Customers buying a Pay Monthly phone will also get a flexible Freestyle contract.
|Can I keep my current phone number?||
Yes. It’s easy keeping your current phone number when you join Virgin Mobile. Ask your current network to provide you with a PAC Code. You can get one through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. The PAC code should be provided to Virgin after you sign up.
You may also find it of interest to read our guide on Virgin Media broadband.