Virgin Media 4G service guarantee in broadband outages – what you need to know

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Virgin Media home broadband down? Customers on Oomph broadband and mobile phone packages now get unlimited 4G until the service is restored.

Virgin Media has launched a new service guarantee to help customers stay online when their home broadband goes down and has made it easier to book engineers for customers on select packages.

Under the terms of its service guarantee, Virgin Media customers who are signed up to one of its Ooomph broadband, TV and mobile phone packages get unlimited 4G when their home broadband connection fails.

And after Virgin Media’s home broadband service was hit by a number of outages this year, customers on its top-of-the-range Ultimate Ooomph package can now book a next-day engineer appointment.

So, on paper at least, you won’t be hanging around without a home broadband connection for very long.

So how does the 4G service pledge work? Is Virgin Media’s 4G fast enough to replace your home broadband while you’re waiting for your service to be restored?

And how does Virgin Media’s pledge compare with other providers’ schemes? Broadband Choices takes a look…

So what exactly happens when my Virgin Media broadband is down?

Virgin Media oomph packages

At the point your service fails, you ring Virgin Media to tell them and you’ll be granted unlimited 4G mobile internet while your home broadband is being restored. You’re then free to use as much data as you like for seven days after you reported the fault.

Winningly, the unlimited data offer applies on all SIMs registered to the Virgin Media account. So everyone in your home with a Virgin Media SIM gets unlimited data to use on their smartphone. Not just the bill-payer.

To activate the unlimited data substitute service, you can call 150 from a Virgin Media home phone. Or 789 from a Virgin Media mobile phone.

Can you use your unlimited allowance for tethering?

You can, indeed. That means you use your phone a de facto Wi-Fi hotspot, and use your 4G allowance to get online with your laptop, tablet or any other internet-enabled device.

So you’ll still be able to stream TV and do pretty much everything else you do normally.

Not used tethering before? No worries.

To activate tethering on an iPhone, just head to ‘settings’, then ‘Mobile Data’ and ‘Personal Hotspot’. If you’ve never tethering before, you’ll need to set up a password too.

Thereafter, just look for your phone under your listed Wi-Fi networks and you’re good to go.

Need to tether on an Android phone? The process varies depending on the smartphone brand you’ve got.

However, you can usually turn on tethering by going to Settings, then choosing ‘Wireless and Networks’. The next step is to select ‘Tethering’ and Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot.

Once tethering is turned on, just look for your phone in your list of available Wi-Fi connections, connect to it and you’re away.

Is Virgin Media 4G fast enough to substitute for a home broadband connection?

Naturally, it’s not as fast as the average speeds of 516Mbs you get on select Virgin Media home broadband products.

But provided you get a third of the 70Mbps speeds that Virgin Media’s 4G service is capable of, you’ll still be able to stream 4K video.

And if you want to watch TV in standard definition or high-definition, you only need 3Mbps or 5Mbps respectively.

If you’ve got multiple Virgin Media mobile phone customers in the house, you’ll be able to use each phone as a separate Wi-Fi hotspot. So you won’t have to worry about multiple users slowing down your connection.

Do all Virgin Media customers qualify for the unlimited 4G offer?

They do not. Only Virgin Media ultrafast home broadband and mobile phone customers who are signed up for one of Virgin Media’s Oomph bundles that launched in April get the benefit. So if you’re on an older package, you’re out of luck.

How does Virgin Media’s Oomph service pledge compare with BT, Vodafone et al?

Not badly, as it happens. Most providers’ service guarantees offer money-back when customers’ connections fall below a certain speed.

But don’t offer anything comparable to Virgin Media’s unlimited substitute service in the case of outages.

By way of example, Vodafone currently guarantees customers on its Superfast 1 and Superfast 2 packages minimum speeds of 25Mbps and 55Mbps. And in the event that it doesn’t achieve that, customers get 15% off their next bill.

BT’s Stay Fast Guarantee for Ultrafast Fibre works in much the same way.

Only in this instance, BT offers £20 compensation for customers whose Ultrafast Fibre Plus and Ultrafast Fibre 2 Plus connection speeds fall below 100Mbps and 150Mbps respectively.

How does the next-day engineer booking system work?

To book a next-day appointment you’ll need to ring Virgin Media on 150 from a Virgin Media home phone or 789 from a Virgin Media mobile.

But take note: the next-day service is only available if you’re on the Ultimate Oomph package. Customers signed up to other Oomph bundles don’t qualify.

What do you get with Virgin Media Ooomph packages?

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Priced from £99 per month at the time of writing, the highest-end Ultimate Oomph package includes blazingly quick connection speed of 516Mbps and 280 channels (including Sky Sports HD, BT Sport 4K and Sky Cinema HD) to watch on two Virgin TV V6 boxes.

You also get a home phone with anytime calls to UK landlines and mobiles, as well as a 4G with unlimited data.

At the other end of the scale, there’s the Big Oomph bundle.

Available now (3rd June 2019) from £37 per month, this includes 110 channels, an average connection speed of 213Mbps, a Virgin Media landline with inclusive weekend calls and a 4G Virgin Media SIM with a monthly allowance of 2GB.