How to switch to Virgin Media from your current provider

Dan Howdle | November 27th, 2023

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Switching broadband should be simple, right? And usually it is, provided you're out of contract and you don't have a hulking mass of broadband and TV equipment on loan from your current provider – usually, you'll need to send this back.

But when it comes to switching to Virgin Media there are some additional steps to be aware of. None of it is particularly difficult or taxing, but it's just as well to have a step-by step on how that'll play out when switching to Virgin Media from some of the most common providers.

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First thing's first, you should know which package you're going to get from Virgin Media, what the contents of said package are – broadband, broadband and TV, or additionally home phone and even a mobile SIM. If you haven't yet weighed up the pros and cons of the various Virgin Media packages on offer, now would be the time. You can use this button to compare Virgin Media deals where you live:

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Speak to our Virgin Media experts about switching. Call now on 0333 210 1126.

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How to switch from Sky

When switching provider, most of the time you just need to be out of contract and sign up to your new broadband package. But there's an extra step when switching from Sky (or any other provider operating on the Openreach network). You need to contact them and tell them you're switching to Virgin Media.

Sky logo

Now, of course, you can only do this once you know when your new Virgin Media services are being activated. That means you not only have to find and sign up to a deal from Virgin Media first and foremost, you'll need to be armed with details like your installation date when you call Sky to tell them.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

Provided you're out of contract with Sky (you've served your 18 months and are free to switch) then no, you won't have to pay a cancellation fee. If you cancel mid-contract however then you can incur some hefty early cancellation fees. Not only will you have to pay out a monthly fee for your broadband, but you'll also have to pay any extras you have out to the end of the contract too. That means a cumulation of monthly charges for however many months you have left and for every Sky product you have under contract, including Sky TV, multiscreen and so on.

Sky's cancellation fee structure is actually rather complex. Too much so to detail its entirety here, so instead, if you're interested in the fine detail of what you'll pay for leaving your Sky contract early, you can view Sky's own cancellation fee tables.

Will I have to return my equipment?

Yes, you will need to return all Sky equipment except for the satellite dish on your home, if you have one. That means your Sky Hub router, your Sky Q or Sky Stream box, any mini boxes. Everything. Whatever you don't return to Sky will result in a 'non-return charge' being levied on your account. Depending on the equipment, these can be substantial, while the equipment itself is no use to you anyway. Sky makes it pretty easy to return your gear, providing you with postage labels and packaging. If a Sky engineer has to visit your home to disconnect anything tricky, you can simply give your old equipment to the engineer and it's job done.

Can I keep my Sky phone number?

Yes, absolutely. The number belongs to you so you just need to transfer it to Virgin Media.

Can I keep my Sky email?

No. This is the case with all providers. If you've made your Sky email address your primary email address, you won't be able to keep it, though Sky will give you a grace period to allow you to switch your email address and let everyone know who needs to, change your email address that's registered for online services and so on.

We strongly advise never using a provider-awarded email address as your main email address for precisely this reason.

Can I keep some of my Sky services?

Sky does allow you to subscribe to TV only if you wish, either via Sky Stream or Sky Q. You can of course keep your Sky TV services and just switch your broadband to Virgin Media, but you can't keep your Sky Broadband and switch to Virgin TV, since Virgin TV requires Virgin Media Broadband in order to function.

What if I'm due a refund?

Sky will work out if you're owed any money and will credit you on or after the switch-over date.

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BT logo

How to switch from BT

Once again, similarly to Sky, you'll need to be out of contract. And, unlike switching to most other providers, switching to Virgin Media means informing your current provider of the switch after you've signed up. It may seem a bit counterintuitive to tell your BT you're switching after you already signed up with Virgin Media, but that's just the way it has to be done because Virgin Media and BT do not use the same network.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

BT literally just multiples your remaining months when it comes to early cancellation fees. This can astack up to huge costs if you have a lot of time left on your contract. And that's not completely unusual, since BT's contracts are very long at 24 months. An example fo a typical early cancellation fee from BT would be if, say, your BT Broadband costs £35 per month, and you had 10 months left on your contract: That's mean you'd have to pay £350 to get out early. Yikes!

Our best advice is always to stick out your contract to the end before switching.

Will I have to return my equipment?

BT is quite clear that any equipment it supplies you with your contract, be that a broadband router, TV box, wifi extender or anything else, is loaned not owned. You'll have to return everything BT sent you. To do this you'll need to request a pre-paid returns bag from BT. Bag it up, post it back and you're all done. If you fail to send back BT equipment within the time frame BT allows, BT will add a non-return fee to your final bill. Non-return fees vary depending on what equipment you've failed to send back. BT's list of non-return fees can be found on its website.

Can I keep my BT phone number?

Yes, absolutely. Your phone number is yours and you can transfer it to Virgin Media no problem.

Can I keep some of my BT services?

No, because you can't get BT TV on its own without BT Broadband and you can't get Virgin TV on its own without Virgin Media Broadband. Hence, you can't keep your BT TV and you can't get Virgin TV with your BT Broadband.

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TalkTalk logo

How to switch from TalkTalk

Again, you'll have to sign up to Virgin Media first, then inform TalkTalk you're leaving. Just be sure you're out of contract with TalkTalk when you do this and it will be smooth sailing. We must emphasise that Virgin Media will not tell TalkTalk you're signing up with them and instigate the switch, so if you don't tell TalkTalk when you're leaving you're going to wind up with two broadband providers and two bills.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

Quite typically, TalkTalk will charge you early termination fees roughly equivalent to each month you have remaining on your contract added together as one sum. This is why we do not recommend leaving your contract early. It's always going to cost you far more than you might save from the switch.

Can I keep my phone number?

Yes. You own that phone number, so switching it to Virgin Media is your call (if you'll excuse the pun).

Will I have to return my equipment?

Yes. You will have 42 days to return any TalkTalk equipment you have. Usually this'll just be the router. TalkTalk will send you pre-paid returns packaging in order to facilitate this.

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How to switch from other providers

Virgin Media is really the odd one out when it comes to UK brodband provision. Almost all UK providers operate on the Openreach network – a network still owned by BT, but run for the benefit of a competitive broadband marketplace where third-party providers can buy up lines wholesale and sell them under their own banner. Sky, BT, TalkTalk and a whole host of other providers offer their broadband this way.

Virgin Media on the other hand has its own network, which on the one hand means its able to offer on-average higher speeds than can be offered to the majority of UK homes via Openreach, but also that switching to or from Virgin Media isn't quite as simple as switching between one Openreach provider and another (between Sky and BT say). The main difference, as you've no doubt gathered, is that once you've chosen a Virgin Media package, you'll need to inform your old provider yourself. Virgin Media won't do this for you.

This is compared to switching between Openreach providers where your new provider informs your old provider automatically via an Openreach database. Most of what applies to the three providers we've covered in this guide applies equally to switching to Virgin Media from any other Openreach provider, though there may be a small amount of variety in the early termination charges and the system by which you return the old equipment.

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