Virgin Mobile is the UK’s first ever MVNO’s and it offers a couple of decent pay as you go tariffs that can be even better if you’re already a Virgin Media customer.
They also offer a wide range of pay as you go phones that have prices that are hard to beat. Are Virgin mobile any good?
Virgin Mobile Coverage
Virgin Mobile uses the T-Mobile signal but also switches to Oranges signal when it needs to. This means it’s one of the best networks in the UK for coverage!
It covers over 99% of the UK’s population with a 2G signal and about 85% of the UK with a 3G signal. You can view the coverage map here.
As Virgin mobile is a pretty big operator, topping up is as easy as on any other network. You can top up over the phone with a credit or debit card, at a cash machine, with a top up voucher or you could even set up a direct debit.
Tariffs for Non Virgin Media Customers
Although Virgin Media customers get a better deal, the offering for the rest of us isn’t bad. You get the choice of either the “Addict tariff” or the Simply 8p Tariff.
On the Addict Tariff you get:
- 300 free texts when you top up a total of £10 each month
- 3000 free texts and 1GB of internet when you top up £15
You also get to keep your credit! Calls cost 26p per minute and texts cost 10p. It costs 50p a day for 25MB of internet. You can also buy bundles to get better overall value:
- £5 gets you 1GB of data or 50 minutes and 50 texts or 50 minutes and 250 texts
- £10 gets you 150 minutes and 25 texts or 50 minutes and 250 texts
- £15 gets you 300 minutes and 50 texts or 100 minutes and 500 texts.
- £20 gets you 500 minutes and 100 texts or 100 minutes and unlimited texts.
You can buy one of these bundles by calling 789 from your Virgin Mobile.
The Simply 8 Tariff.
This tariff is explained in the name. Calls cost 8p and texts cost 8p! Browsing the web costs……..not 8p. It costs 50p per day for 25MB. This tariff is similar to the “Essentials” tariff by Talkmobile but it’s not quite as good!
Exclusive Tariffs for Virgin Media Customers
If you’re already a Virgin media customer then you get much better value. Instead of the regular Addict tariff you can have the Extra Addict Tariff.
For that you get the same things you get with the regular addict tariff plus 100 free minutes. So when you top up £10 you get 100 minutes, 300 texts and you also get to keep your £10 of credit.
Topping up £15 gets you 3000 texts, 1GB of internet, the 100 minutes and you get to keep your £15 of credit.
This is where Virgin Mobile really shines. The prices of the pay as you go Virgin Mobile phones are very competitive. Take a look at these examples:
- The Samsung Galaxy Ace costs only £109.99 on Virgin and that already included £10 of credit. On the Three network it’s £119.99 plus a minimum top up of £15. That’s a significant saving of £35!
- The Blackberry Curve 9360 costs 159.99 including £10 credit on Virgin while on Orange it’s 199.99 plus a minimum top up of £10. That’s an even bigger saving of £60!!!
The range of phone available is pretty poor but the ones they do sell are generally cheaper than on other networks! Speaking of Blackberries….
If you want to use the Blackberry Internet Services like BBM with your new Virgin Tariff then it will cost you either £2 for a weeks access or £5 for a month. To set this you you just need to text “week” or “month” to 789030.
iPhones and Micro Sims
Unfortunately Micro Sims aren’t yet available with Virgin Mobile but if you desperately want to use Virgin with your iPhone or other Micro Sim handset you could always cut your sim down to size!
How can you get signed up?
All you need to do to get started is order a free sim here and follow the instructions from there.
Conclusion and Verdict.
The fact that this MVNO uses the T-Mobile and Orange network is a definite plus point. If you live in an area where you only really get a signal from these networks and you want a budget tariff then this is clearly one you should consider.
Another huge positive is how cheap their pay as you go phones are. I also love the fact that they quote the price that includes £10 of credit so you don’t get tricked into thinking the package costs less than it does.
Virgin Mobile’s only issue is the mighty GiffGaff. £10 on GiffGaff gets you much more than what Virgin mobile currently offer but that can be said about pretty much any network. If you don’t like GiffGaff for some reason or their O2 signal isn’t great in your area then Virgin Mobile is a definite contender.
Because the value of Virgin Mobile doesn’t quite match that of GiffGaff’s I’m gonna give it a cool 4 out of 5 stars.