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Virgin unlimited data SIM deal offers UK's first 'truly unlimited' plan

Thursday, February 22nd 2018 by Marc Shoffman

Virgin Mobile has gone head-to-head with Three in the unlimited data mobile market.

Three has long been a leader in providing unlimited mobile packages on SIM-only deals. It currently offers unlimited minutes, texts and data on a 12-month contract for £28 a month.

But Virgin Mobile is making a play for Three’s crown with the launch of a Truly Unlimited plan. The tariff is cheaper at £25 a month for 12 months and promises unlimited calls, texts and data with no slowdowns or restrictions during busy periods that other networks may do.

By comparison, Three manages traffic on its network using a scheme called TrafficSense. This allocates a certain amount of bandwidth to pay-as-you-go add-on personal hotspot use between 8pm and 11pm, when demand for this service is likely to be at its highest.

In the event of network or equipment failure, or heavy congestion, Three also says it may have to slow down traffic to ensure its network runs smoothly while changes are made.

The Truly Unlimited plan can be used on any Virgin Mobile handset and as an extra bonus, its customers are now getting a speed boost of up to 50Mbps when using 4G.

You need to be a Virgin Media customer

There is a catch with the Virgin deal though. Anyone can purchase Three’s unlimited data SIM, but you need to be a Virgin customer to get its Truly Unlimited mobile deal. This means signing up to or already being on Virgin’s broadband or TV deals.

Virgin Media offers broadband speeds of up to 300Mbps. Its most basic broadband and line rental package offers unlimited downloads and speeds of up to 50Mbps for £29 a month for 12 months plus a £20 activation fee. It moves to £40 a month after a year.

You can have TV and broadband starting from £30 a month on the Player bundle. This gives you more than 70 top channels as well as up to 50Mbps of broadband and unlimited downloads. There is a £20 activation fee and the deal moves to £48 at the end of the contract.

At the cheapest, the Virgin Mobile Truly Unlimited deal could end up costing £45 a month in the first 12 months when you add in the cost of broadband and activation.

This ends up being more expensive than Three’s offer, but if you are already a Virgin Media customer or are interested in becoming one, it may be worth considering if you need a new phone SIM anyway.

In both cases you may end up paying a premium if you rarely max out your data anyway. There are plenty of cheaper SIM-only deals with high data limits that may work out better.

For example, O2 charges £20 a month for unlimited calls and minutesand still gives you a hefty 20GB of data that could be a challenge to breach.

Three also provides the same minutes and texts but with 30GB of data for £20 a month. This shows it is worth working out your TV, broadband and mobile needs before going truly unlimited.

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