Virgin Media explained
Virgin Media (www.virginmedia.com) has got a bit of everything. The company as we know it was formed in 2006 - and by the end of the year, it had become the UK’s first provider to offer broadband, home phone, TV, and mobile plans. Today, it owns and operates its own fibre optic cable network, letting it deliver superfast broadband to swathes of the UK.
Is the country’s most ‘supercharged’ broadband company the one for you? Read on and we’ll take a look at what you can expect from Virgin Media.
What does Virgin Media do?
Virgin Media Big Bundles
What doesn’t Virgin Media do?
As a ‘quad-play’ provider, Virgin Media offers the whole shebang - and it’s made it easy to get the whole shebang with their Big Bundles. They're called the Player bundle, Mix bundle, Fun bundle, Full House bundle, and VIP bundle - all of which include fibre optic broadband, TV, and home phone, with the option to add a mobile SIM for a reduced price too.
Grouping all the services you want into a ready-made bundle is a great way to save money, but they may not be suitable if you want to mix things up a bit. If you prefer video streaming to live TV, for instance, you may want the fastest broadband but only basic TV, in which case you’d be better off creating your own bundle.
Virgin Media fibre optic broadband
All of Virgin Media’s broadband options are fibre optic, making them lightning fast and super reliable. They also come with unlimited downloads so you can stream, game, and browse without worrying about hitting the usage cap. Bear in mind, however, that Virgin Media practises web traffic management, so your connection may slow during some tasks - like file sharing - at peak times.
Three download speeds are on offer: SuperFibre 50 (up to 50Mb), VIVID 100 (up to 100Mb), and the mega speedy VIVID 200 (up to 200Mb). Plus there's VIVID 200 Gamer, which gives you faster upload speeds too - up to 20Mb. And regardless of your connection, you’ll get a bunch of extras thrown in as well. There’s internet security with Web Safe and F-Secure SAFE, ten email addresses with Virgin Media Mail, and Wi-Fi on the London Underground.
Virgin Media broadband works through its own cables, meaning a truly landline-free broadband connection is available. It’s also one of the only providers to offer nine-month contracts - perfect for students.
Of course, it isn’t available everywhere. You can use our postcode checker to see if you can get it in your area.
Virgin Media TV
With Virgin Media TV, it’s options galore. The main packages are Player TV (70+ channels), Mix TV (150+ channels), Fun TV (190+ channels), and Full House TV (245+ channels). All come with a 500GB or 1TB TiVo box so you can record, rewind, and pause live TV.
Both boxes let you watch catch up and on demand TV - from services like BBC iPlayer, 4OD, and Sky On Demand - but exactly how much you have access to will vary depending on your package.
Still, regardless of which one you pick, you’ll definitely get at least ten HD channels, and Virgin TV Anywhere to watch your favourite programmes wherever you are. Plus there’s always the option to add extras, like Sky Cinema, BT Sports, and music videos. Check out our complete guide to Virgin Media TV channels for the full lowdown.
Virgin Media home phone
Virgin Media’s line rental comes with four different phone packages to choose from: Talk Weekends, Talk More Weekends, Talk More Evenings and Weekends, Talk More Anytime, and Talk More International Anytime. All include free weekend calls to UK landlines and mobiles, but if you’re chattier than that, you’ll want one of the bigger packages. Talk More Anytime includes anytime calls, for instance.
Speaking of mobiles…
Whatever kind of mobile plan you need, there’s a good chance Virgin Mobile will offer it. There are pay monthly, pay as you go, SIM only, and mobile broadband plans, and a good range of handsets - including fancy iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. Existing Virgin Media customers can get price breaks on mobile deals too.
It’s partnered with EE, which means fantastic coverage across the UK, but there’s no 4G or unlimited data plan available just yet - so if you’re used to speedy internet on the go you may not be satisfied.
What’s good about Virgin Media?
- Can save money by combining services in a ready-made Big Bundle
- Very flexible packages with lots of options, so you can customise them exactly as you want them
- One of the fastest and most widely available broadband providers in the UK, with speeds of up to 50Mb, 100Mb, and 200Mb - even the most basic connection can handle a large household streaming, gaming and downloading with very little issue
- Gamer broadband package gives you faster upload speeds and no traffic management
- Broadband doesn’t require line rental, meaning a broadband-only option is available
- One of the most comprehensive TV providers in the UK
- All home phone packages include free weekend calls to UK landlines, with the option to add more
- Virgin Mobile is partnered with EE, meaning good coverage
- Nine-month contracts are available - ideal for student households
- Existing customers can get discounts on mobile plans
- Internet security with broadband packages, in the form of Web Safe and F-Secure SAFE
- Lots of additional extras are included (like Virgin TV Anywhere) or can be added on (like Sky Cinema)
What’s bad about Virgin Media?
- Virgin Media has less coverage than other national broadband providers - use our postcode checker to see if you can get it
- Not the cheapest - providers like Plusnet or TalkTalk may offer better value deals if you don’t want all the bells and whistles
- No 4G with Virgin Mobile
- Broadband isn’t truly unlimited - traffic management means your connection may slow at peak times
- The way TV packages work means you may have to shell out a lot more to get some of the channels you want
- Costly installation fees can apply
- All those complicated options can make choosing a package a tad confusing
- Limited public Wi-Fi - rivals like BT that offer similar packages also have public hotspots for their customers to use