Virgin Media launches mobile tariffs with unlimited everything, from £15 a month

The United Kingdom entered the era of 4G mobile services late last year, although EE remains the only service provider actually selling 4G tariffs, and for many, the asking price of being an early adopter is simply too high. So it's perhaps no surprise that there remains fierce competition for customers interested in less expensive 3G tariffs, and Virgin Media is the latest to overhaul its price plans with a range of new unlimited offerings. 

Unlimited texts are widely available on many networks, but T-Mobile has been the only UK network until now to offer unlimited texts, calls and data on a flat-rate price plan, while Three and Telefónica's giffgaff have also catered to those seeking plans with unlimited data on their handsets. Virgin Media has now announced its VIP plans, which not only offer unlimited texts, data and calls - including calls to 0800, 0808, 0845 and 0870 numbers, which attract steep charges on many other networks - but also a free handset, unless you opt for a SIM-only plan.

Customers who have other Virgin Media services will get £5 a month off a VIP handset tariff and free mobile insurance worth £7.99 per month, with guaranteed next-day replacement, while all customers will also get three months of free Spotify mobile usage. 


The Nokia Lumia 620 is one of several phones available free with a VIP handset tariff

Prices for the VIP tariffs start from £15 per month for the SIM-only deal, which offers 30-day rolling contract terms, and unlimited everything, in what Virgin Media is calling "the best unlimited SIM-only deal on the market". New customers buying VIP with a free handset, such as the Nokia Lumia 620, will pay £31 a month, or £26 a month with other Virgin Media services.

Interestingly, while Virgin Media's press release claims that "unlimited means unlimited", a footnote clarifies that the data element of the tariff is subject to an "acceptable usage policy", which states that "excessive use over 3.5GB of data per calendar month will result in their maximum bandwidth being restricted to 384kbits/s downstream, 200kbits/s upstream on our network". For customers who have been with Virgin Media since before 25 June 2012, the threshold for excessive use is even lower at 2GB per month. Tethering is also not permitted. 

Virgin Media is a virtual network operator, using the EE 3G (T-Mobile/Orange) network. 

Source: Virgin Media

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23 Comments

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3.5GB yeah right, I wouldn't ever trust VM, I signed up to a business internet account with them, I made sure there was NO DPI or slowing down of speed and then when I started getting slower speeds a few years later after transferring so much data in a certain time I contacted them and they said it was part of the AUP, looked back over what I had agreed and there was no mention of an AUP, completely scum company.

Have to laugh at VM's understanding of the word UNLIMITED!

Do they actively enforce non tethering, rather than just imply it? Wonder if its possible to use your phone as a proxy server.. there must be an app for that!

I really dont understand why it makes any difference if I use my phone, or a tethered device.. bandwidth is bandwidth!

Methinks another complaint to ASA / Trading Standards is in order as this is deceptive. As usual. "Unlimited" only means unlimited, not "unlimited, except..."

3 keep on annoying me by assuming I'm tethering (when I'm not) on their unlimited data plan. A network reset (airplane mode for a minute) sorts it out, but my contract doesn't say "no tethering" in the first place, even though newer ones do...

Virgin do enforce tethering. I tried it a month or so ago on their new PAYG deal, the £10 for unlimited data]. After about 2GB or 5 days they noticed and started redirecting HTTP to a page that said "don't tether". They also sent an SMS threatening to remove the data allowance.

Apparently detection works by packet TTL and User-Agent although I haven't been able to check that first hand.

duddit2 said,
Haha 3.5GB is unlimited now is it, also no tethering! Pointless use of 'unlimited' as its very limited!

Is it forced no tethering or just that is one of the enforceable conditions? We don't have that **** here in Aus!

Mines around 10mb. Mainly just reddit, Facebook, twitter and web browsing. Thing is usually there is wifi around.

3.5 is pretty good, really. Even on my tablet (which I use pretty much constantly) I only hit 2-3/month; my phone is about 200-300mb (since mostly it's the tablet).

Basically it is unlimited as long as you don't do catchup tv, torrent or heavy youtubing, which for many is plenty.

djprotoss said,

Basically it is unlimited as long as you don't do catchup tv, torrent or heavy youtubing, which for many is plenty.

So it isn't unlimited.

djprotoss said,
Basically it is unlimited as long as you don't do catchup tv, torrent or heavy youtubing, which for many is plenty.

I don't do any of that and I use about 8GB per month.

Mark said,
I don't know about you but I max about 60mb on my mobile phone every month...

I did 250MB in the last week. I don't consider that high seeing as way back when I had a G1 I had 3GB a month to play with and regularly got close to that. I was using it less (speeds weren't as good) back then as well.

duddit2 said,
Haha 3.5GB is unlimited now is it, also no tethering! Pointless use of 'unlimited' as its very limited!

Moderate use of apps and web searching, and I use around 700mb a month on my Windows Phone while out and about, that's with Wi-Fi connection at my home and key locations where I can connect.

I'm not even watching streaming video or music with that either. Pretty sure if I was streaming my Plex movie library collection while on the go, I'd need close to 3.5gb a month quite easy. I don't think my battery would able to sustain that abuse thou

Mike said,
And where does it say you're limited to 3.5Gb?

"For customers who joined Virgin Media after 25 June 2012 excessive use over 3.5GB of data per calendar month will result in their maximum bandwidth being restricted to 3G speeds (384kbit/s downstream, 200kbit/s upstream) on our network. For customers who joined before 25 June 2012 excessive use over 2GB of data per calendar month will result in this restriction being applied. This policy will apply until the end of the calendar month, when it will be automatically removed. We reserve the right to review these usage levels from time to time. At this reduced speed, customers will still be able to browse web pages, send/receive emails, and stream audio and video all at 3G data speeds, but peer-to-peer and large file downloads/uploads will be slower than normal."

It's part of their "Unlimited data: Acceptable Usage Policy applies, tethering not permitted. " link.

http://www.virginmobile.com/vm...Id=our.service.footer.sm068 Under the header:Virgin Media Mobile Acceptable Use Policy Pay Monthly

Mark said,
I don't know about you but I max about 60mb on my mobile phone every month...

I'm sitting at 35GB this month so far. I still have 11 days on my cycle. Truly Unlimited T-Mobile FTW. If youre all wondering, it's not tethered. It's Netflix and Youtube on my N4.

sagum said,

"For customers who joined Virgin Media after 25 June 2012 excessive use over 3.5GB of data per calendar month will result in their maximum bandwidth being restricted to 3G speeds (384kbit/s downstream, 200kbit/s upstream) on our network. For customers who joined before 25 June 2012 excessive use over 2GB of data per calendar month will result in this restriction being applied. This policy will apply until the end of the calendar month, when it will be automatically removed. We reserve the right to review these usage levels from time to time. At this reduced speed, customers will still be able to browse web pages, send/receive emails, and stream audio and video all at 3G data speeds, but peer-to-peer and large file downloads/uploads will be slower than normal."

It's part of their "Unlimited data: Acceptable Usage Policy applies, tethering not permitted. " link.

http://www.virginmobile.com/vm...Id=our.service.footer.sm068 Under the header:Virgin Media Mobile Acceptable Use Policy Pay Monthly

I fail to see where you're limited to 3.5GB... you can go over 3.5GB so its not a limit...

I'm currently on virgin, and I have to say the service is great. Have not has any problems in 22 months!

Pow said,
I'm currently on virgin, and I have to say the service is great. Have not has any problems in 22 months!

Been with Virgin media since before the rebrand (ex ntl/blueyonger merge<ex ntl<ex-c&w<ex-Nynex). Only ever had one problem and what was when one of the load balanced backbone lines failed in our county. Took a few months to figure out with a lot of trace routes and path pings, but eventually I got to speak to one of the lead engineers on the phone thanks to (what was) the usenet based tech support guys.
Unfortunately they're all long gone now and they have some poor excuse for a forum to help users and the last time I tried to call the tech support line I was being told to format my PC...

Still, their actual service has been great for the last 11 or so years apart from that one blip. My speeds have been top rate and the jitter and ping times have been awesome.
A couple of years back, I did have to move just out of the cabled area for 12 months and was forced to use BT's DSL service.. One of the reasons I moved again was because of the poor excuse that they (BT) branded their service as broadband. Their customer support was not friendly at all, and was basically told it was my fault for having poor lines going to the house and they'd replace them for me at the tune of £300 but it might not help.. not exactly sure what I was paying my line rental for at that point. Wouldn't let me cancel my contract because I could still use the internet and my phone line could make calls. They wouldn't give me a discount either.

Virgin media on the other hand, any type of problem and they usually bend over backwards to fix and give a discount. When we were having packlet loss problems for them few months, virgin media doubled our speed and halfed the price of our connection for 12months.

However, this deal they have for mobile I'm less impressed with. Although branded Virgin Media, they're not actually part of the virgin media but rather virgin mobile. I called them up to see if I could get my land line replaced with a mobile contact, since I don't use the landline and it's not needed for cable broadband I thought it wouldn't be a problem. Instead they said they couldn't do that, not part of the same company. The chap on the phone was really nice about it though, shame he couldn't be persuaded to ask his manager if there was anything they could do to make it happen.

Still, it's a great deal for anyone who has a lot of friends/family on virgin mobile or use their lane lines a lot. For me, at least for now, I'll be sticking with giffgaff's dodgy service. lol.