Virgin Mobile offers 4G plans with data rollover, Freestyle contracts, data-free messaging and coverage from EE.
In the UK, Virgin Mobile offers 4G mobile plans on both a SIM-only basis and with a new Pay Monthly phone. Until late 2021, customers will have access to 4G coverage from EE. This is then expected to transition over to O2, with 5G coverage also launching on Virgin Mobile at the same time.
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, 16 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
Virgin’s £27/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 From EE
On Virgin Mobile, you’re currently able to get 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from EE. The maximum download speed available on Virgin’s 4G service is 85Mbps, with an average download speed of 37Mbps and an average upload speed of 13Mbps.
As Virgin Mobile is piggybacking on EE for coverage, you can get a mobile signal from Virgin in all of the places where you’re able to get a signal from EE. Before ordering a phone or SIM card from Virgin, it’s worth double-checking the coverage in your area using the Virgin Mobile coverage map:
If you have a compatible smartphone, you can also access Wi-Fi Calling on your Virgin Mobile device.
Virgin Mobile will be offering EE coverage until sometime in 2021. It’s then expected they’ll transition to using coverage from O2 (see the information below regarding their proposed merger with O2).
For more information, see our in-depth guide to coverage on Virgin Mobile.
At present, Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer any 5G coverage. It’s currently expected they’ll launch 5G coverage in 2021, most likely, using coverage from the O2 network. This is subject to the regulatory approval of Virgin Media’s proposed merger with O2.
Assuming the proposed merger with O2 goes ahead, you’ll be able to use Virgin’s 5G service in the following UK towns and cities:
|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)
Prior to the merger with O2, Virgin Media announced their intentions to offer 5G coverage from Vodafone. It’s expected this agreement will no longer go ahead, providing the merger with O2 is approved.
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 announced the intention for Virgin Mobile to transition to using coverage from O2 rather than EE. As Virgin’s agreement comes to an end with EE in late 2021, the move is expected to happen around that time.
Should the merger with O2 be blocked by competition authorities, it’s unknown what will happen to the coverage on Virgin Mobile. It’s possible they’ll decide to transition to O2 anyway, or they may decide to fall back upon the previous agreement with Vodafone. Alternatively, an extension to their agreement with EE could be signed, allowing customers to continue using coverage from EE.
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?||
No. Virgin Mobile doesn’t currently offer 5G coverage in UK. It’s expected they’ll probably launch a 5G service during 2021 using coverage from the O2 network.
|What coverage does Virgin Mobile currently offer?|
|What download speeds are available on Virgin Mobile?||
You can access download speeds of up to 85Mbps on Virgin Mobile, but this is subject to network coverage and capacity in your area. The average download speed available is 37Mbps and the average upload speed available is 13Mbps.
|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. Following the merger, it’s expected they’ll transition their network to offering coverage from O2 instead of EE. It’s likely that 5G coverage will also launch around this time on Virgin Mobile.
|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.