Virgin Media has come out swinging with a deal to rival T-Mobile’s Full Monty range and Three’s One plan, but as many of us have never switched mobile provider, will it do enough to convince customers to throw in the towel with their existing network?
Here’s a closer look at Virgin’s new tariffs, how they stack up against the competition and how you go about switching providers.
Unlimited data, calls and texts
For £26 a month on a 24-month contract (£21 if you’re a Virgin Media customer) Virgin’s new Premiere tariff will get you unlimited data usage, unlimited texts, unlimited calls to UK landlines and 2,500 minutes.
As a sweetener, Virgin Media is throwing in free insurance for Virgin customers – normally £7.99 per month, and unlimited calls and texts to other Virgin mobiles.
Other tariffs in the Premiere range include the ‘Premiere 08', starting at £33 per month (£28 for Virgin customers) with the same minute, data and text allowances as Premiere but also 500 minutes to 0800, 0845, 0870 and 0808 numbers.
The 'Starter' tariff for £18 a month (£13 for Virgin customers) offers 200 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB data and the 'Essential' tariff offers 600 minutes, unlimited text and 1GB data for £23 a month (or £18 for Virgin customers).
How does this compare?
Virgin will be hoping to mimic the success of T-Mobile and Three’s ‘unlimited’ tariffs, The Full Monty and The One Plan.
By comparison, The Full Monty will give you unlimited texts and calls to other T-Mobile users, unlimited data and 2,000 any-network minutes for £36 per month over 18 or 24 months.
This is more expensive than the Premiere tariff and you’ll get fewer minutes, but there is an option of shorter, 18-month contracts (but you’ll likely pay more each month for the privilege).
Three’s The One Plan also offers ‘all you can eat’ data, but limits customers to 5,000 texts. You will, however, get 2,000 any-network minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes and the ability to tether your phone to your laptop.
Couple the tethering facility with all you can eat data and the tariff becomes quite attractive, especially if you’re the sort of person who does a lot of work on the go and can’t always connect to the web via wi-fi.
The competition is certainly good news for mobile users because it’s driving prices down and giving us more bang for our buck. However, a Which? survey last year found that nearly half of British mobile owners (20million) have never switched provider.
If you’re out of contract or willing/able to buy out, you could save money – and switching is relatively painless. In fact, another piece of Which? research found that 90% of those who did switch providers found it easy to do.
You can even take your existing mobile number with you to your new network, all you have to do is ask for a PAC code (porting authorisation code) and give that to your new provider.
If you’re stuck in a contract and itching for an upgrade – but don’t want to buy your way out, you could always recycle your current handset for cash and put that towards the cost of buying out. Find out what your mobile is worth from our mobile recycling partners.
If you’re ready to take up a new contract or coming up to renewal time, check out some of the deals over on our mobile phones channel to see if you can save money. Read more in my article 'How to switch your mobile phone contract'.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.