Both providers offer something different: Vodafone is all about budget-friendly broadband, while Virgin Media offers top-of-the-range broadband speeds and TV channels. But which one is better for you? To help you choose, we weigh up what each provider has to offer.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media broadband at a glance
Can I get ADSL?
No – Vodafone doesn’t offer standard ADSL broadband
No – Virgin Media doesn’t offer standard ADSL broadband
Can I get superfast fibre?
Yes, with average speeds of 38Mbps or 67Mbps
Yes, starting from average speeds of 54Mbps
Can I get ultrafast fibre?
Yes, with maximum average speeds of up to 900Mbps
Yes, with maximum average speeds of up to 1,130Mbps
No, all packages are truly unlimited
No, all packages are truly unlimited
Yes – an Apple TV 4K-based service
Yes – a Virgin TV 360 box with your choice of channels
Do I have to take a home phone?
Yes – all Vodafone packages come with line rental
No – Virgin Media doesn’t require you to take a landline
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: Cost
Looking at cost, Vodafone is much cheaper. Its prices start from £22 a month for its Superfast 1 plan with speeds of 38Mbps.
New customers can often snap up vouchers that bring the monthly cost down even further. Not to mention, Vodafone doesn’t charge any set-up fees.
In comparison, Virgin Media charges a £35 set-up fee. Its most basic broadband-only M50 Fibre Broadband package costs £38 a month for speeds of 54Mbps.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Virgin Media’s broadband-only deals aren’t necessarily the most affordable from the get-go. At the time of writing (August 2022), most broadband + phone plans run cheaper than their broadband-only counterparts.
However, they do come with a steep price hike once the 18-month minimum term is up – for example, the M100 Broadband + Phone plan costs £24 a month, but goes up to £51 after 18 months.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: average broadband speeds
With Virgin Media being the fastest major broadband provider in the UK, it’s no surprise that it outstrips Vodafone when it comes to speed.
- Vodafone’s broadband speeds: 38Mbps, 67Mbps, 100Mbps, 200Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps
- Virgin Media’s broadband speeds: 54Mbps, 108Mbps, 213Mbps, 516Mbps and 1130Mbps
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: broadband packages
Both providers are focused on fibre optic broadband – neither offer a standard ADSL option.
Vodafone has six plans, at speeds starting at 38Mbps all the way up to 900Mbps. Speeds of 200Mbps and above are only available if you upgrade to Vodafone Pro, though – this is an add-on service that strengthens the quality of your Vodafone connection.
As listed above, Virgin Media has five broadband speeds. But it has a vast range of packages, as you can get all these broadband deals bundled with additional services.
Regarding contract length, all Vodafone packages are available on 24-month contracts, while Virgin Media’s plans are 18 months long. Additionally, Virgin Media is one of the few providers to offer shorter-term contracts, with options for 12-month and one-month rolling contracts – ideal if you’re a student or in a temporary let.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: home phone
All Vodafone packages come with line rental included. On the other hand, Virgin Media is one of the few providers to not require a landline – you can choose whether to bundle it with your broadband or not.
Vodafone broadband comes with ‘pay as you go’ calls as standard, so you only pay for calls you make. But if you plan on using your home phone, you can upgrade your calls package for an extra monthly charge.
Vodafone has two call plans – Evening and weekend calls to UK landlines, and Anytime UK Landline and Mobile Calls – as well as some extra features like Voicemail Plus.
If you decide to get a home phone with Virgin Media, you have a bigger variety of options.
For starters, the basic call package, Talk Weekends, comes with weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers. And you can upgrade to a more inclusive package, including a couple of plans that get you unlimited calls to international destinations.
As well as a wide array of call plans, you can add extra minutes and features on top.
Overall, Virgin Media’s landline choices are a lot more comprehensive than Vodafone’s.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: TV
Virgin Media is one of the top TV providers with huge selection of channels. Unlike other providers, where you customise your TV plan by picking the channels you want, Virgin Media has an array of pre-made bundles that come with a Virgin TV 360 box and channels and subscriptions already selected for you.
So, you pick the bundle that appeals to you the most – if you’re into binge-watching shows, for example, you can get the Big bundle + Drama & Docs, while sports fans will likely plump for the Bigger bundle + Sports.
Plus, Virgin Media is the most convenient place to get both Sky Sports and BT Sport in one place. Whether you’re happy with 100+ free-to-air channels and players, or you want an all-inclusive plan with BT Sport, Sky channels and a Netflix subscription thrown in, Virgin Media has it.
In comparison, Vodafone offers a simple set-top box service for streaming your favourite apps. It comes with a free Apple 4K TV set-top box, as well as a three-month Apple TV+ subscription. But it’s handy if you’re just looking for a straightforward plan that lets you stream all your favourite apps, such as Netflix, Now TV and on-demand players, and much cheaper than Virgin Media TV.
Bear in mind, though, that TV is only available with Vodafone’s more expensive Pro Xtra plans.
Luckily, neither option requires you to get a satellite dish.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: Fibre broadband and availability
Vodafone uses BT’s Openreach network to provide its services. As Openreach is the biggest network in the UK, Vodafone has wide availability – chances are, you’ll be able to get it at your address.
Conversely, Virgin Media operates its own network, which is why it can achieve top speeds. However, it’s not as extensive as Openreach, so you’ll need to check if you can get Virgin Media broadband.
To find out what’s available in your area, just enter your postcode in our availability checker below.
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Vodafone vs Virgin Media: Download limits
Both providers offer truly unlimited broadband, meaning there’s no limit on how much you can use the internet and download or stream content. Additionally, there’s no traffic management, so your speeds won’t be artificially slowed down, even during peak hours.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: Extras
Thanks to Virgin Media’s partnership with O2, Virgin Media customers can now also enjoy O2 Priority. Download the Priority app and you’ll find a generous host of rewards and benefits: for example, complimentary cinema tickets and daily treats from high-street brands.
As Vodafone is a more value-focused provider, it doesn’t have a similar reward scheme. Nevertheless, Vodafone Mobile customers can enjoy certain deals, such as a discounted upgrade to Vodafone Pro and money off their monthly broadband bill.
Vodafone vs Virgin Media: Customer service
Vodafone scores perfectly average when it comes to customer service.
On the other hand, Ofcom's latest annual report found Virgin Media’s customer satisfaction to be lower than average, with customers less likely than average to recommend Virgin Media to a friend.
And customers of both providers were more likely than average to have a reason to complain about their broadband service.