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Virgin Mobile coverage checker

Monday, August 7th 2017

If you’re about to switch mobile phone networks or are signing up to one for the first time, there’s lots of things to consider: price, contract length and the type of handset you’re going for. But what about network coverage – and how do you check?

Here’s how to run an availability test, what the results mean and who your alternatives are if you’re not happy with what you find. It’s a lot simpler than you might think.

Check Virgin Mobile coverage

Like virtually every other mobile phone network, Virgin Mobile has a coverage checker on its site that displays the signal strength for 2G, 3G and 4G services. After entering your postcode, you’ll see a map that centres on that location.

Check Virgin Mobile coverage →

Using Virgin’s coverage checker map

Like many other mobile networks, Virgin uses a Google Maps interface to display its coverage. As with Google Maps, you can move around the map by clicking and dragging around it, as well as zooming in or out with your mouse wheel or the plus and minus icons displayed in the top left.

The map itself uses five different shades of red to display how strong the signal is around the postcode you’ve entered - the redder, the better. You can scroll around the map to your heart’s content but, if you want a more accurate reading, you can put your postcode in and it will immediately tell you how good your 2G, 3G and 4G signal strength is likely to be.

How coverage checkers work

While it is technically possible to develop a coverage checker that relies purely on live network data, mobile networks generally base the results you see on simulations that measure your distance from nearby transmission masts.

Google Maps does include topographic details that informs coverage checker results (if you check signal strength for a crowded urban area, amongst high-rise buildings, or in a densely forest area, the maps are clever enough to take this into consideration) – but it’s unlikely that what you’ll see is completely accurate.

The best way to approach any coverage checker is to remember it’s a guide rather than a guarantee of what you can expect from a network in your chosen location.

Ofcom has a coverage checker

In order to get an even better picture of what coverage is like in your area, it’s worth looking at Ofcom’s own mobile coverage map.

This works independently from the provider’s maps and may give a slightly different result. The Ofcom map shows coverage for the four different networks across the UK – so as Virgin Mobile runs on EE, that is the network you will need to check.

Virgin Mobile now offers 4G

Virgin Mobile is carried on the EE network, which covers 98% of the UK population. EE has the UK’s largest mobile network, so unless you live in a rural area, you should find that you can get at least a 2G connection.

Virgin has now also launched 4G for its pay monthly and SIM-only customers, with 99% 4G coverage on the EE network. However, pay-as-you-go customers will still only receive 3G.

It’s important to point out that whichever network you opt for, coverage will be stronger in some areas and weaker in others. Although providers are keen to continually expand their reach, the differences between them in a single location can be significant, so it’s worth checking a wide range of providers before you sign up.

Signal strength can vary

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can impact on the strength of your mobile signal. If you’re close to a mobile mast that carries Virgin Mobile’s calls, data and texts, you should find your signal is strong. The flip side of this is that the further away from a mast you go, the weaker the signal is likely to be.

While close proximity to a mast is generally a boost, your speed can still be hampered by the number of people connected to it at the same time. Don’t be surprised if extreme weather harms your signal too, since your mobile relies on radio waves to communicate with the rest of the world and is particularly vulnerable to poor atmospheric conditions.

Alternative networks to consider

Should you discover that you’re in an area with low Virgin Mobile cover, there are plenty of other networks out there. The table below features coverage checker links for a variety of mobile networks (Virgin included). Clicking on the respective logo will take you to that provider’s coverage checker.


It’s impossible to definitively say whether or not Virgin Mobile’s service is right for you, as coverage can differ wildly depending on exactly where you are in the UK. That’s why we recommend using a coverage checker to find out what level of signal you can expect.

It’s also a good idea to check other locations where you spend a lot of time (such as your work postcode or addresses of friends and family).

Related links

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.

This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

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