MoneySuperMarket’s Guide to Virgin Media broadband
Thinking about taking Virgin Media broadband? Here’s what’s on offer and what you need to know.
Virgin Media has its’ own infrastructure and delivers its service via its own fibre optic cable network.
Virgin is also in the mobile broadband game. Mobile is what’s known as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which basically means it uses another company’s network to connect you to the web. If you sign up for mobile broadband with Virgin Mobile, you’ll be
Virgin Media Broadband
Virgin Media is the main alternative to BT’s Openreach network and is best known as the fastest widely available broadband in the UK.
All Virgin Media broadband packages are superfast but currently available to just over 60% of the UK.
So what does Virgin Media offer?
|Fibre Optic Broadband||Yes|
|TV||Yes (via TiVo)|
|3G Mobile Broadband||No|
|4G Mobile Broadband||Yes|
|Connection Type||Wireless Only|
|Pay As You Go||No|
Virgin Media doesn’t offer ADSL broadband – only superfast fibre optic broadband.
Fibre Optic Broadband
Virgin Media’s superfast broadband products are great for those who want to do data intensive activities such as streaming high quality video (Netflix, YouTube), those who game online or those who have multiple users logged on at any one time.
Virgin Media have four separate talk plans available to their customers so whatever type of user you are, there’s a package for you.
So whether you only use your landline on weekends or your phone is glued to your ear day long you’ll find a package to suit your needs with Virgin Media.
Virgin Media is the only provider in the UK to offer the TiVo box.
With TiVo you can pause, rewind and store all your favourite programmes as well as use catch up services and apps such as Spotify and Netflix.
Catch up services like BBC iPlayer and All4 are also available.
Another great reason to take Virgin Media TV is for the ‘Virgin TV anywhere’ app. With Virgin TV anywhere you can watch all your channels on the move on your mobile and tablet.
Virgin Media have a large suite of products when it comes to mobile phones – probably the biggest of all the providers.
Whether you’re after a cheaper SIM only deal or want the latest iPhone, Virgin Mobile has a raft of great offers on offer.
An added bonus is that all Virgin Broadband customers get an additional £5 a month off the cost of your Virgin Mobile tariff.
Virgin Media customers are able to get BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and BT Sport ESPN.
Unfortunately BT Sport Europe is not available on Virgin Media at this time.
For Virgin Media customers wanting Sky Sports, the full suite (all five channels including Sky Sports F1) are available.
Both BT Sport and Sky Sports are included as standard on the XL package.
Virgin’s mobile broadband doesn’t offer 3G mobile broadband deals however, so if you live in an area where 3G is the fastest connection you can get on your phone, Virgin’s mobile broadband isn’t for you.
4G is to mobile phones what fibre optic was to broadband – it’s the fastest type of connection you can get on your phone as long as your handset supports it (which most new models do).
If you do live in an area where you can get a 4G connection on your phone, Virgin’s mobile broadband can get you download speeds of up to 21 Megabits per second.
To put that in perspective, the average broadband speed in the UK homes is roughly the same*- which means you could get just as quick a connection as you’d expect to get via your router plugged into your phoneline.
At these kinds of speeds, even streaming video and music should be an absolute breeze – but bear in mind that Virgin advertises speeds of ‘up to’ 21 Megabits per second, and what you get could be far lower, depending on your signal strength.
There are generally two kinds of mobile broadband connections, but to make things a bit simpler Virgin only offers the kind where you get a small personal wireless device (or MiFi) through which you connect your phone, tablet or computer to the internet.
Think of a MiFi device as a sort of router which, instead of connecting to your phone line, connects to the mobile network. You can connect up to 10 devices to your MiFi device at any one time and it’s also secured with a password to stop anyone else using your connection.
Virgin’s mobile broadband is not available on a Pay as You Go (PAYG) basis.
Virgin’s mobile broadband offers two types of pay monthly contract. 30-day rolling deals cater for those who don’t want to get tied in to a lengthy contract, while longer 12-month plans cut the monthly cost.
Prices vary depending on your data limit, and the higher your limit the more you’re going to have to pay. Virgin Mobile offers data allowances from 500 Megabytes to 8 Gigabytes a month, catering for everyone from the occasional email and Facebook checker to the HD movie streamer, and everyone in between.
*at the time of writing
MoneySuperMarket’s expert view
Virgin Media topped the polls in MoneySuperMarket’s broadband speed category in the 2015 Broadband Supers awards and it’s not hard to see why. Virgin Media specialise in superfast broadband and are concentrating their efforts of boosting their speeds as well as their reach around the UK.
If you’re someone who streams a lot or has a number of users online at any one time Virgin Media could be the provider for you.
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