Latest Offer: 20GB of Data For £12/Month
Virgin Mobile offers 20GB of data, unlimited UK minutes & texts for just £12/month and it now comes with 5G!
The deal is a 12-month contract. It also includes Wi-Fi Calling, 4G Calling and free access to millions of Virgin Media Wi-Fi hotspots.
Virgin Mobile regularly updates their deals so hurry up and catch this deal before it’s gone!
Who is Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile is a mobile network provider operating in the United Kingdom and currently it’s using EE’s network to provide 2G, 3G and 4G Coverage, however this will change with O2 and Virgin Media merging to create one of the UK’s largest telecoms firms. This means once the merger is finalised (this is expected to happen in late 2021) Virgin Mobile will begin to operate under O2’s network. The network also offers a 5G service, powered by Vodafone.
Virgin Mobile is also the world’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), having launched back in 1999. The network offers SIM only contracts and phone deals. No matter which option you choose, you have to undergo a credit check if you wish to join Virgin Mobile. The carrier used to have a pay as you go service, but unfortunately it was shut down in July 2020.
All Virgin Mobile plans come with a data rollover feature as well as Wi-Fi Calling, but the carrier doesn’t have a 4G Calling service. You’ll also benefit from free WiFi at over 3.5 million hotspots and data-free messaging on Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp.
- The best 4G network coverage and fastest data speeds thanks to EE.
- Over 3.5 million free Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Data Rollover on all plans.
- WiFi Calling and 4G Calling on all plans.
- A wide variety of plans and great discounts.
- No longer offers a PAYG service.
- Restrictions on roaming abroad
- No 30-day plans.
- No 4G Calling.
Table of Contents
Plans & Pricing
SIM Only Deals
At the time of writing, Virgin Mobile only has 12-month and 24-month contract deals, which means the carrier requires you to undergo a credit check. There are many good options to choose from and all their plans come with a data rollover feature, Wi-Fi Calling and data-free messaging for Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp.
There’s almost always a high value deal with a huge discount or extra data on Virgin Mobile, having said that some of these offers are exclusive to their TV or Broadband customers.
Pay As You Go
Virgin Mobile used to offer a pay as you go service accompanied with PAYG bundles, but the network terminated these options in July 2020. Unfortunately, Virgin Mobile doesn’t offer any PAYG deals at the moment, but they may bring the service back once the merger with O2 is finalised.
You can always check out 1p Mobile or giffgaff, as these two networks offer pretty decent PAYG options. Make sure to read our 1p Mobile Review to learn everything you need to know about the network and why they’re the best PAYG option in the UK. You can also read our giffgaff Review to learn more on how to mix their incredibly flexible ‘Goodybags’ with traditional PAYG.
Pay Monthly Phones
If you want to upgrade your current mobile device, Virgin Mobile gives you a couple of good options, plus the network splits your phone bill and airtime bill. You can either choose a 24-month deal or a 36-month deal, if you want to get a smartphone from Virgin Mobile. The carrier offers devices from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and more. You can find pretty much all the flagship handsets on their site.
Virgin Mobile allows you to pay up the remaining balance of your device in one go at any time, so you can upgrade your phone, but your airtime plan will continue. On the bright side the network also gives you some flexibility as you can mix and match your price plan every month.
Network Coverage & Speeds
2G, 3G and 4G Coverage
Virgin Mobile is currently using EE as its network provider, but this will change in late 2021 once the merger between O2 and Virgin Media is finalised. At the time of writing Virgin Mobile customers get the best 4G coverage in the UK and the fastest 4G download speeds thanks to EE’s unrivalled infrastructure. EE has over 99% population coverage and the largest network in the country also offers over 90% landmass coverage.
According to Opensignal’s April 2021 speed test results EE’s 4G download speeds average around 39Mbps, while their upload speeds are at around 9.1Mbps. Virgin Mobile itself isn’t tested, but their results would be quite similar. Even though EE has the largest coverage in the UK, we strongly recommend you to use Virgin Mobile’s coverage map before you sign a contract with them.
EE has decent 5G coverage in the UK, Virgin Mobile customers don’t get to benefit from this. Virgin Mobile’s 5G service is powered by Vodafone, and it launched on 25 January 2021. At the moment their 5G is live in 100 cities and towns in the UK.
Virgin Mobile’s official statement reads “Those who have already got their hands on a 5G device and purchased one from Virgin Media from April 2020 onwards will automatically receive a boost to Virgin Media’s 5G services. Customers who take a 5G plan won’t need to lift a finger, their services will be upgraded with no need to swap their SIM or activate the service.”
Existing mobile customers taking a 4G price plan on Virgin Mobile will remain on EE’s services until the deal between EE/BT and Virgin Media ends.
If you want to experience the fastest download speeds and other benefits of 5G, we’d recommend checking our Three Review. All Three plans, including PAYG deals come with 5G at no extra cost. Alternatively you can check out VOXI’s unlimited data plan, which comes with 5G data speeds. According to Opensignal’s April 2021 speed test results Three’s average 5G download speed is at 115.9Mbps. Three 5G upload speeds are around 12.7Mbps.
Voice Call Quality
At Half Cooked, we rely on voice call quality tests performed by independent testing bodies such as Open Signal, umlaut and OOKLA. They’re reliable, they perform extensive countrywide tests and they’re objective.
Looking at their test results we can see that Virgin Mobile’s host network EE outperforms all the other major networks, scoring ‘Very Good’. Since both networks share the same infrastructure, it means Virgin Mobile customers would have a similar experience. We’d like to remind you to check your frequent areas are well covered by your mobile provider.
Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling
4G Calling allows your phone to stay connected to 4G when you’re making or receiving a phone call. It also eliminates many indoor blackspots and improves your voice call quality. Thanks to 4G Calling you can use data at 4G speeds even when you’re on a call.
Wi-Fi Calling allows you to make and receive voice and video calls over a Wi-Fi connection rather than using your regular cellular connection.
To benefit from these two features you’ll need a compatible handset, as well as a price plan that includes them. Virgin Mobile customers can enjoy both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling provided their device supports the feature.
Virgin Mobile customer’s enjoy one of the best free Wi-Fi deals in the UK. The mobile virtual network operator offers exclusive free Wi-Fi hotspots to their customers at over 3.5 million locations around the UK.
They even have free Wi-Fi hotspots in 250+ London Underground stations and more than 79 London Overground stations. There are even more free hotspots you can connect to when you’re roaming outside the UK. Virgin Mobile offers 20 million more hotspots across the world!
You’ll need to download Virgin Media’s Connect app to benefit from the free WiFi service, but don’t worry it’s free.
Tethering or turning your smartphone into a personal hotspot means sharing your mobile data with other compatible devices. You can start tethering by turning your WiFi Hotspot on. Apple and Android phones differ slightly, but the feature works just the same.
You can freely tether with your Virgin Mobile plan, but we’d recommend staying on top of your usage as you can eat through your mobile data at a much faster rate when you’re tethering. If you’re planning to tether to other smartphones, tablets, laptops and video game consoles etc. Virgin Mobile might not be the best choice for you, unless you pick their unlimited data plan.
We also recommend checking out SMARTY’s and Superdrug’s unlimited data plans if you’re tethering on a regular basis. Both networks are powered by Three and offer similarly priced, super-cheap unlimited data plans with no credit checks. Make sure to have a look at our SMARTY Review and Superdrug Mobile Review too!
Virgin Mobile lets you use your UK minutes, texts and data in 43 destinations in the EU. Even if you go over your UK allowances while in one of the inclusive roaming destinations, you won’t pay more than you’d pay back home.
However, when you’re roaming outside the EU, things change. The network sets a default roaming cap at £51.50 (including VAT) unless you change it. You won’t be allowed to use your UK allowances when travelling outside the EU and data usage outside of the EU may be charged up to £12.50/MB, but this of course depends on the country you’re in. The network also applies a fair usage policy. You can find out your plans fair usage limits by using their FUP calculator.
Virgin Media WiFi
There are more than 3.5 million free Virgin Media WiFi hotspots in the UK, and 20 million more across the world. All Virgin Media customers get free access to all these Wi-Fi hotspots. Plus you also get free Wi-Fi in 250+ London Underground stations and more than 79 London Overground stations.
Data-Free Messaging on Social Media
Virgin Mobile customers can enjoy WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter without using up their regular data allowance. Don’t forget that voice and video calls through WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are excluded.
Unlimited Data Plans
The network offers unlimited data plans for both 12-month contracts and 24-months contracts. This used to be an exclusive deal for existing Virgin Media TV and Broadband customers, but now available to all.
Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Virgin Mobile: (4 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – Virgin Mobile uses EE’s network, that means they’re offering a market leading 99% population and 95% landmass coverage in the UK. Virgin Media also offers the fastest 4G download speeds. Virgin Mobile 5G is live and but uses Vodafone’s 5G network.
- Voice Call Quality – According to objective testing bodies such as Open Signal and umlaut, Virgin Mobile is one of the best networks when it comes to voice call quality.
- Tethering – You can tether freely with your Virgin Mobile plan, but always remember that tethering eats data at a much faster rate. Always be extra careful!
- Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling – Virgin Mobile offers both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no additional cost.
- Wi-Fi Hotspots – Virgin Mobile has over 3.5 millions of free WiFi hotspots in the UK, and another 20 million across the world.
- International Roaming – Virgin Mobile lets you use your UK allowances in 43 destinations in Europe. Outside the EU extra charges and different rates apply.
- Virgin Media WiFi – As stated right above, the mobile virtual network offers one of the best free WiFi services in the UK.
- Data Free Messaging – Virgin Mobile allows you to use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter without burning through your regular data. Video and voice calls via these apps are not included.
- Data Rollover – A lot of MVNOs still don’t offer an app, but Virgin does. It’s simple, well designed & effective.
- Unlimited Data Plans – Available to all, super-fast unlimited data plans. However, they’re pricier than most other options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What network does Virgin Mobile use?
Currently, Virgin Mobile is using EE’s network, however we expect this to change in late 2021. O2 and Virgin Media are planning a merger and this is due to happen next year.
What will happen when O2 and Virgin Media merge?
Virgin Mobile will start using O2’s network and O2’s free Wi-Fi service will probably merge with Virgin Media WiFi. This will make O2 WiFi the best free WiFi service in the UK. This may also mean cheaper price plans with more value.
Does Virgin Mobile have 4G Calling?
Yes, as of early 2021 Virgin Mobile is offering 4G Calling at no extra cost.
Does Virgin Mobile have Wi-Fi Calling?
Yes, Virgin Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost.
Does Virgin Mobile have 5G?
Yes, however there's a unique situation at hand. Virgin Mobile is currently powered by EE until the end of this year, meanwhile their 5G service is powered by Vodafone.
Does Virgin Mobile offer PAYG?
Sadly, not anymore. Virgin Mobile used to offer multiple pay as you go deals and bundles, but the network shut down its PAYG service in July 2020.