Virgin Mobile review: Is it any good?

Virgin Mobile review: Is it any good?

Virgin Mobile was launched to the world in 1999 as the first mobile virtual network operator, tagging onto what later became the EE network, enabling Virgin to offer excellent 5G coverage. However, all that has changed and is still changing. Following Virgin Media’s merger with O2, Virgin Mobile now operates on the O2 network, and anyone on a Virgin Mobile plan will soon be moved onto a comparable O2 plan..

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Virgin Mobile review

It may surprise you to know that Virgin Media is no longer owned by Richard Branson, and hasn’t been for several years now. It is in fact owned by Liberty Global, a vast, multinational telecoms company. So what does Virgin Mobile have to offer? We take a look at the details.

Is Virgin Mobile Worth Considering?

Virgin Mobile, a pioneering mobile virtual network operator established in 1999, originally piggybacked on the EE network to provide extensive 5G coverage. However, significant changes have occurred and continue to evolve. After merging with O2, Virgin Mobile now operates on the O2 network, and all Virgin Mobile plan subscribers will eventually transition to equivalent O2 plans.

Surprisingly, Virgin Media is no longer under the ownership of Richard Branson and has been part of Liberty Global, a multinational telecommunications company, for several years. So, what does Virgin Mobile bring to the table? Let’s delve into the details.

In this Assessment…

Tariffs and Plans Bang for Your Buck Phone and Device Options Network Coverage Customer Service In Conclusion

Tariffs and Plans

Virgin Mobile offers pay-monthly deals with handset contracts lasting either 24 or 36 months. When you obtain a phone from Virgin, your contract comprises two parts: monthly payments for the phone (spread over 24 or 36 months) and a rolling one-month contract for calls, data, and messages.

There are no upfront costs for Virgin’s handsets on monthly tariffs. However, this means you have limited flexibility in choosing how much you pay upfront versus monthly, and there’s no choice regarding contract lengths. Additionally, there’s no option to purchase a phone outright. Nevertheless, you can pay off your handset at any time, even after just one month into your contract. From that point onward, you’ll only be paying for your airtime plan, which you can cancel with one month’s notice.

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All Virgin Mobile plans offer flexibility, allowing you to adjust your data allowance each month and roll over any unused data to the next month. Moreover, you get free roaming in 43 international destinations, and tethering is permitted on all Virgin plans up to your chosen data allowance, enabling you to use your phone as a hotspot if needed.

For those seeking SIM-only plans, Virgin Mobile currently offers a 30-day plan that you can modify or cancel as desired, or a 12-month O2 plan with O2 benefits, including O2 Priority and O2 Extras. However, Virgin Mobile plans to transition all customers to comparable O2 plans in the near future, ensuring everyone can enjoy O2’s benefits.

Phone and Device Range

Virgin Media provides phones exclusively from Apple, Samsung, Sony, and OPPO. They offer the latest models, including the iPhone 14/14 Pro Max and Samsung S23/S23 Ultra, as well as more budget-friendly options. Apple phones are also available on contract bundles with AirPods, Apple Watch, and iPads, allowing you to spread the cost of all your new tech in one monthly payment.

In addition to phones, Virgin offers a selection of tablets available on contract, with a strong focus on the latest Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tab models. Customers can choose from data options ranging from 1GB to 100GB on 24 or 48-month contracts to make payments more manageable.

Customer Service

Virgin Mobile’s customer satisfaction rating falls slightly below the industry average, according to Ofcom. In their 2022 ratings, 83% of Virgin Mobile customers reported satisfaction, compared to the industry average of 91%. Only 11% of customers had reasons to complain about the service, and among those who did, 57% were satisfied with how their complaints were handled, surpassing the sector average of 53%.

It’s important to note that Ofcom’s data is based on surveys of a few hundred customers, so it’s wise to consider other sources as well. Virgin Mobile holds a 1-star rating on the review website Trustpilot, based on feedback from more than 3,500 customers. However, this rating is consistent with most other mobile providers reviewed, including O2 and Sky Mobile. Complaints range from billing errors to incorrect charges, but it’s worth noting that dissatisfied customers are more likely to leave reviews than those with positive experiences.

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Should issues arise, you can contact Virgin Mobile at 789 from your Virgin mobile phone or 0345 600 0789 from any other line. Their customer service operates from 8am to 9pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 6pm on weekends. They also offer a live chat service, or you can reach out via social media on Twitter or Facebook.

Bang for Your Buck

Virgin Mobile’s tariffs are competitive in the market, and they offer several extras to help you save money. There are no upfront costs for their handsets, and data rollover lets you keep unused data from previous months.

For customers already subscribed to Virgin Media Broadband, a Family Plan with Virgin Mobile is available, allowing savings of up to £8 per month with up to five SIMs for your family. Unlimited calls between Family SIM holders are included.

Virgin Mobile users can earn up to £50 cashback for referring a friend to purchase a Virgin Mobile phone, and they can also trade in their old handset for cash towards a new one under the Trade Up offer. This scheme allows monthly contract customers to upgrade to a new phone and contract before their current deal ends by trading in the value of their current phone.

The value of your old phone goes toward paying off the remaining balance on your contract. If your old phone is worth more than your remaining contract, you’ll receive the extra value back. If it’s worth less, you can still upgrade early, just by paying the difference. Virgin will provide a quote for your old device based on its condition, which is guaranteed for 14 days. You’ll then receive a return pack in the post.

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Virgin Mobile customers also gain access to thousands of free public Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK by downloading the Virgin Media Connect app. These hotspots are located in bars, restaurants, high street shops, and UK airports.

Network Coverage

Virgin Mobile operates on the O2 network, which covers 99% of the population with its 4G signal. O2’s 5G network is rapidly expanding and is currently available in 750 towns and cities. To determine if you can access 5G with Virgin Mobile in your area, visit the provider’s mobile coverage checker. Simply enter your postcode to find out if your area has coverage for 3G, 4G, or 5G, along with signal strength information.

Virgin Mobile customers generally seem content with their signal quality. Ofcom’s service quality report indicates that 78% of customers were satisfied with their Virgin Mobile phone reception.

In Conclusion

Currently, Virgin Mobile customers have the choice between a 30-day Virgin Mobile plan or a 12-month O2 plan, although all plans operate on the O2 network. If you enjoy regularly upgrading to the latest devices, you can pay off your handset at any point in your contract or trade it in to offset the cost of a new model.

While Virgin Mobile doesn’t excel in customer satisfaction, it does provide reasonably priced and flexible deals, along with the added bonus of O2 Priority for customers selecting an O2 deal. This benefit is soon to be extended to all customers once the transition to O2 is complete.

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