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Virgin Mobile 4G Coverage and Network Review

31st March 2017

Virgin Mobile Network Coverage

As an EE MVNO, Virgin Mobile is in the enviable position of being able to take advantage of EE’s extensive 4G network, which currently covers over 97% of the UK population.

The company also aims to stand out, with low prices along with data allowances that roll over each month - so if you don't use all your data you get the remaining amount added on to your next month's allowance.

Plus, all customers can use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger without eating into their data allowances, and you get access to Virgin Mobile's network of 250,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK.

Pros

Cons

Data rollover

No tethering

Free WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger use

Only 3G on Pay As You Go

Flexible plans

Only offers standard 4G speeds

Our Verdict 

Coverage

Virgin Mobile has 99% 2G coverage, 98% 3G coverage and 97% 4G coverage. In other words then you’ll be able to get a connection – and usually a fast 4G one – almost anywhere in the UK.

Network Type Coverage by population
4G  97%
3G 98%
2G 99%

Use Virgin Mobile’s coverage checker below to find out more about Virgin Mobile 4G coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G from Virgin Mobile is now available in thousands of towns, cities and villages. Locations with 4G coverage include but are not limited to the following cities:

Aberdeen, Armagh, Bangor, Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dundee, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter,  Glasgow, Gloucester, Hereford, Inverness, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Newry, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Peterlee, Perth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Ripon, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, St Asaph, St David’s, Salford, Salisbury, Stirling, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, City of Westminster, Winchester, Wolverhampton Worcester and York.

Recent locations to benefit from EE (and by extension Virgin Mobile) 4G include Sidmouth, Ilfracombe, Midsomer Norton and Wymondham.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

With 4G, Virgin Mobile customers can get speeds which are roughly five times faster than a standard 3G connection.

The network has average download speeds of 33.83Mbit/sec and average upload speeds of 13.81Mbits/sec, which is at the upper end of standard 4G speeds, so you can expect speedy downloads and seamless streaming.

  • Average Download Speed: 33.83 Mbit/sec
  • Average Upload Speed: 13.81 Mbit/sec

As Virgin Mobile is an EE MVNO it uses the same 4G spectrum bands as EE. That means it has access to the 800MHz band, the 1800MHz band and the 2600MHz band. Between the three of them Virgin Mobile is equipped to deliver reliable 4G signals both in urban and rural locations, over long distances and through walls, while still being able to deliver the capacity needed in busy areas.

Find out more in our 4G frequencies guide.

  • 800MHz used for 4G
  • 1800MHz used for 2G/4G
  • 2100 MHz used for 3G
  • 2600 MHz used for 4G

Plans

Virgin Mobile offers a range of Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans with 4G offered as standard on all of them. Its plans also include Data Rollover, so you can keep your unused data, and free messaging on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, so you can keep communicating even if you’ve used up your data for the month.

However, tethering isn’t allowed on any of Virgin Mobile’s plans, and its Pay As You Go service only comes with 3G data.

Pay Monthly Phone Plans

Tethering

No

Max Data Allowance

20GB

Contract Length

24 Months

Virgin Mobile has a number of Pay Monthly plans with different allowances. They top out at 20GB of data and all last 24 months, however you can change your 4G plan up or down every month.

SIM Only Plans

Tethering

No

Max Data Allowance

20GB

Contract Length

30 Days

Virgin Mobile has a number of SIM Only plans, each of which only lasts 30 days, so they’re flexible. They’re also cheaper than its Pay Monthly plans as there’s no phone included, but they still top out at 20GB of data.

Data Only Plans – For Tablets and Dongles

Virgin Mobile offers a range of Data Only SIM plans, lasting 30 days or 12 months and with up to 10GB of monthly data.

Pay As You Go

When you top up £10 or £15 you can choose one of the bundles below, each of which lasts one month.

Note that the allowances given are a free reward in addition to your top up balance – so even though you might not get any minutes for example with some of these bundles, you can still make calls using the credit you topped up with.

Note also that Virgin Mobile Pay As You Go only offers 3G data.

Bundle

Minutes

Texts

Data

Big Data and Texts £10

0

3000

1GB

Big Data and Texts £15

0

3000

3GB

Big Talk £10

Unlimited to landlines, 120 to UK mobiles

0

0

Big Talk £15

Unlimited to landlines, 120 to UK mobiles 3000 0

Outside of your bundle you’ll pay 35p per minute, 12p per text and £1 per day for 100MB of 3G data.

Virgin Mobile Roaming Destinations

Virgin Mobile offers 30-day travel passes for EU roaming, with 10MB of data for 35p, 50MB for £1.50 and 250MB for £5.

Conclusion

Virgin Mobile has strong 4G coverage, flexible plans and some near-unique extras, like data rollover and free WhatsApp messaging. Its prices aren’t too high either, making it a strong overall choice of mobile network.

It’s not as good for Pay As You Go users though, as they’re limited to 3G data, and the lack of tethering support slightly limits what you can do even on 4G. But as long as you’re happy to be on a contract and don’t need to get other devices online, Virgin Mobile could be a good fit.

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