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Why choose a Virgin Mobile SIM only deal?

Every mobile provider has its own set of selling points. Virgin Mobile is no different. However, we have to mention that Virgin Media no longer piggybacks on EE’s mobile network, and is now using Vodafone. This is a bit of a step down for Virgin Media, since EE has the fastest 4G data speeds in the UK. There are only 4 Mobile Networks in the UK, and by teaming up with Vodafone, Virgin Media has gone from using the UK’s fastest network (by a long way) to the UK’s 3rd fastest. Nonetheless, Here are the things Virgin Mobile offers to entice new customers to take out a SIM with them.

  • Unlimited Data – Virgin media offer SIM only deals which have unlimited data. At the time of writing, these are the two most expensive deals, one lasting 12 months and a slightly cheaper one lasting 24 months
  • 5G ready – All Virgin Media SIM only deals can access the Vodafone 5G network (Virgin Media uses Vodafone's mobile network to deliver its services), though you will need a 5G handset to take advantage of this. 5G is currently available in around 100 towns and cities across the UK, with the roll-out continuing to increase its reach. In the meantime if you have a 5G handset, it will still be able to access 4G almost everywhere else
  • Data free use of messaging services – You can use Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger without using up your data allowance. But be aware that voice and video calls using these apps are not included and will use data
  • Most reliable network – Virgin Media piggybacks on Vodafone’s network, and while Vodafone may not be the fastest mobile network, according to RootMetrics, Vodafone has the most reliable network
  • Spending caps available – This is not unique to Virgin Mobile, but can be useful to ensure you don't accidentally become overcharged for general data usage, calling, texting, picture messaging and so forth
  • Data rollover facility – Allows you to rollover data you didn't use the previous month to a month where you might need the extra. Not everyone will find this useful, but it's a nice feature to have

Is Virgin Mobile a good network?

Despite there being a couple of dozen mobile providers – and many more if you count the smaller, niche and business providers – there are only four actual mobile networks in the UK. They are: Three, O2, Vodafone and EE. Each has a physical network of masts, and as such, each has its own unique coverage 'footprint' and data speeds. All other providers besides these four piggyback onto one of them in order to offer their services.

Virgin Mobile piggybacks on the Vodafone network. Which comes third in terms of speed, offering 4G download speeds of 21.6Mbps. This isn't going to bother many people, but by comparison, EE has an average 4G download speed of 44Mbps. A pity, since Virgin Media previously used the EE network for its mobile services.

Data and calling features

There are a standard set of desirable features you should look for in any mobile provider you are considering signing up to.

  • 4G data speed – Vodafone piggybacks on the Vodafone network, this give is a data download speed when using 4G of 21.6Mbps which is third fastest in the UK (Out of four the mobile networks
  • Data rollover – Is available with a Virgin Mobile SIM, meaning you will be able to store excess unused data and apply it where you need it
  • Tethering – You get unlimited tethering with Virgin Mobile SIMs. Tethering is where you use your phone as a wifi router, using its data allowance to connect a second device to the internet, such as a tablet or laptop computer
  • Wifi calling – Like Vodafonef, Virgin Mobile offers wifi calling on all of its SIMs. Wifi calling is where you use your home broadband wifi connection instead of your mobile network to make phone calls, and is useful if there are parts of your home where reception is poor
  • Data gifting – This is where you can gift unused data to another person who is with the same provider. Virgin Mobile does not offer data gifting
  • Data caps – Are useful if you wish to limit the amount of data you can use beyond the limits of your plan. Very useful if you think you are likely to go over, but if that's the case, maybe consider getting a SIM with a higher data limit

Roaming on Virgin Mobile

You can use a Virgin Mobile phone almost anywhere in the world. You will need to bear in mind, though, that the amount you will be charged – as with all mobile providers – will vary wildly, depending on where in the world you are.

Now the UK has left the European Union, mobile providers can reintroduce roaming charges for using your phone when travelling. However Virgin Mobile have not reintroduced them, so in most of the European Union, you will be able to 'roam like home', which means all of your allowances won't cost you a bean more when using them in the countries you are visiting. It is always worth checking its fair use policy before you go, as falling foul of it, can result in being charged more than you expected.

On Virgin Mobile you will be able to roam like home in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guinea, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion Islands, Romania, Saint Barthelemy (St. Barts), San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Czechia, The Netherlands, The French Antilles and Vatican City.

Beyond these, Virgin Mobile offers special rates for using your services in the Channel Islands, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Turkey and Switzerland. As for the rest of the world, you will need to check rates on a case-by-case basis.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get a SIM card for Virgin Mobile?

Yes. Virgin Mobile offers a good selection of SIM only deals, operating on the Vodafone network.

Are Virgin Mobile SIMs 5G?

Yes. All Virgin Mobile SIMs are 5G as long as you have a 5G handset to use it in. However, 5G is currently only available in around 100 towns and cities in the UK, where a good 5G signal is not available, your phone will switch to 4G in almost all of the UK, or otherwise to 3G or even 2G as required.

How do I cancel Virgin Mobile SIM only?

If you take out a Virgin Mobile SIM deal and change your mind for whatever reason that's fine. Virgin Mobile offers all of its SIM deals with a 14-day cooling off period, during which you are free to change your mind.

Which network does Virgin Mobile use?

Virgin Mobile is on the Vodafone network which is currently the third fastest 4G network in the UK (Out of the four UK mobile network providers: 02, EE, Three and Vodafone).

Can I use a Virgin Mobile SIM in a Vodafone locked phone?

No. Although Virgin Mobile piggybacks onto the Vodafone network, it remains a completely separate provider and company. Vodafone locked phones will only accept a Vodafone branded SIM.

Is Virgin Mobile any good?

If you'd like to find out more about how we rate Virgin Mobile as a provider, you can do so by taking a look at our in-depth review.