Virgin Media is one of the biggest broadband and TV providers in the UK, with a reputation for providing some of the fastest home internet speeds available.
But is it as fast and reliable as the adverts claim? We’ve put its service to the test, looking at everything from network coverage and outages, to customer service and value for money. If you’re considering Virgin Media for your next broadband provider, our review will help you decide if the provider is right for you and your household.
|Value for money||3.22|
|Router & equipment||3.50|
|Additional services||TV: 3.56 | Landline: 3.32 | Mobile: 3.72|
|Price increase communication||3.10|
|Customer loyalty score||3.46|
Note: these are weighted average scores from a 1-5 rating
To view customer scores for all of the major UK providers, visit our Uswitch Broadband Customer Survey page.
The 2022 Uswitch Broadband Customer Satisfaction survey asked broadband customers to rate their broadband provider’s service in a range of different areas.
Virgin Media’s customer satisfaction results showed a great reputation for internet speed, but a lower score for its value for money and landline services in particular. This has largely been in-line with our experience of Virgin Media’s connection, too.
Learn about Virgin Media’s service in more detail with our in-depth review and find out whether our reviewer had a similar experience with the provider.
Very fast internet speeds
Great TV and mobile bundle options
Better ultrafast coverage than most providers
Quick and easy setup with QuickStart kit
More prone to outages than other providers
Only 50% coverage of UK properties
Poor customer scores for landline services
Virgin Media is one half of Virgin Media O2, which is one of the largest telecoms companies in the UK.
It operates on its own cable network, including for its TV service, rather than relying on Openreach for its connections. This gives it some benefits in terms of internet speed, because it uses much faster cables than the older, copper-based network that Openreach relies on.
But as a result, it’s not as widely available across the country, and its connection lacks the consistency that Openreach has built up over the decades.
For this review, we tested out Virgin Media’s M250 broadband-only package. But we’ve also explored the other speeds and services on offer from the provider, and how they compare to other providers’ additional options.
I live in a two-bedroom flat in a household of three young professionals, who regularly work from home, join video calls, stream TV and play competitive games online. And the 264Mbps internet speed we get from this package is fast enough for everything we do online and then some. But intermittent outages on Virgin Media’s network has meant we get some frustrating moments without an internet connection.
Despite this, for the £29 per month price point that we purchased this deal at, this service has largely satisfied the demands we had.
As we mentioned earlier in this piece, Virgin Media’s network is separate from all other telecoms providers in the UK.
This means it doesn’t use the nationwide Openreach cables that many other providers rely on for broadband. At 97% UK coverage, the Openreach network is nationwide, whereas Virgin Media’s is only around 52%.
So you should first make sure it’s actually available at your property, because you won’t be able to purchase a Virgin Media deal if its network isn’t in your area.
As of the end of 2021, Virgin Media had upgraded its entire network to gigabit (1Gbps) speeds. This speed is so fast that most people don’t actually need it right now. But it’s a move from Virgin Media to future-proof its network for a time in the future when more households have that kind of demand for internet.
Virgin Media is famous for its fast internet speeds. For years, it has offered ultrafast broadband to more properties than any other provider in the UK.
Ultrafast is an internet speed between 100-900Mbps, which is only achievable on certain networks. Openreach’s superfast network, which is available to 97% of the country, can only supply speeds of up to about 70Mbps.
As for the M250 broadband package we’re subscribed to, the 264Mbps speed is nowhere near the fastest on offer from Virgin. But it’s still more than enough for our needs as a household.
I regularly stream TV in 4K quality, often while my flatmates are doing the same on their own devices, or gaming online with their friends. We also work from home at the same time. And while that doesn’t require as much bandwidth as 4K streaming, it does mean we can all download and share files super quickly and join video meetings simultaneously without any speed-related issues.
Given our usage, a superfast speed of 70Mbps or under might not be sufficient for us when we’re all using the internet at the same time. Thankfully, Virgin Media is the only provider in our area that can supply speeds above this amount, which means we can use the internet whenever and however we want.
This doesn’t mean we always have a smooth experience with our connection, though. As I will explain in the next section, our connection is prone to more outages than we’ve experienced with other providers. So while the ultrafast speeds are certainly enjoyable, the trade-off appears to be a less stable connection.
Virgin Media has a range of broadband deals set at many different internet speeds. Here’s a quick list of all the speeds it provides on its network:
Virgin Media M125: 132Mbps download, 20Mbps upload
Virgin Media M250: 264Mbps download, 25Mbps upload
Virgin Media M350: 362Mbps download, 36Mbps upload
Virgin Media M500: 516Mbps download, 36Mbps upload
Virgin Media Gig1: 1130Mbps (1.13Gbps) download, 52Mbps upload
Note: all speeds are ‘average’ speeds, which is the internet speed available to 50% of customers during hours of peak internet traffic.
Virgin Media does seem to experience more connection issues and broadband outages than other providers.
I’ve experienced this personally since joining the provider, having to deal with lots more outages than I used to with providers on the Openreach network. But it’s also evident in our customer survey, where Virgin Media scored second-lowest out of the biggest broadband providers for the reliability of its internet connection.
The biggest problems it has are usually specific to certain neighbourhoods, rather than the entire network as a whole. So, unless you’re particularly unlucky, you should enjoy a fairly smooth experience with Virgin.
Unfortunately, our household seems to be in an area that suffers from intermittent outages. For the last few months, our broadband completely cuts out at various points throughout the day and night, sometimes for up to half an hour. It interrupts our meetings while working from home and means that we have to tether to our smartphones if we want to continue streaming a show.
The issue took engineers two months to initially fix, but we still experience occasional (though less frequent) issues. But we received bill credit for those two months as a result.
If you’re experiencing a sluggish or inconsistent broadband connection, it’s important to make sure that your home setup is as good as it can be before assuming it’s a network issue.
This includes making sure your router is in a central and open location in your home and is at least a metre away from other electronic or metal objects.
If your internet is working but the speed seems much slower than it should be, take a look at our guide: Why is my internet so slow?
Virgin Media’s customer service has largely been helpful and transparent during the time I’ve been with the provider. But its website troubleshooting needs some work.
When we first started to have connection issues, we relied on Virgin Media’s Service Status tool. Frustratingly, it would initially tell us that there were no known connection issues in the area, and we only saw some acknowledgement of the issue if we then clicked ‘Still having issues?’ and tested the connection further.
We then received a message saying that Virgin Media was aware of the issues in our area and that engineers were on the case to fix them. However, that’s all we were given whenever we tried to report issues online.
However, we received a lot more support when we (eventually) got to speak to Virgin Media’s customer service team.
I initially had some trouble proving who I was on the phone, because the automated message was asking me to provide a ‘password’, and my attempts to put in my normal Virgin Media password were unsuccessful. It turned out that it was actually asking for my ‘memorable word’ which was a completely different answer. Virgin should probably update the wording here to make it clearer which word they require.
And things then became even more frustrating when I was suddenly hung-up on while I was on hold.
But once I finally used the right memorable word and reached a real person, our Virgin Media representative was very receptive to our situation. Within minutes, she had provided an update on our specific connection issue, given us the date the fix was planned for and even offered us two months’ bill credit.
Less than two hours after the call, we received an email saying the credit had been added to our account, and we could see it in the ‘bills’ section of Virgin Media’s app not long after.
If you have problems with your Virgin Media connection, you might have more success than we did by trying to find an answer online. But so far, we’ve only ever reached a swift resolution by calling. Trying to resolve issues or seek answers on its website often doesn’t get us the response we need.
Virgin Media offers all four of the main telecoms services — broadband, TV, home phone and mobile subscriptions with O2.
Because it operates on its own network, all Virgin’s telecoms services (except for mobile) are supplied through its cable connection. This means the only way to get cable TV in the UK is through Virgin Media.
Virgin recently gave its TV offering a complete overhaul with the Virgin TV 360 set-top box. It’s very similar to the top-flight experience offered by Sky Q, the country’s most popular TV service. Similar to Sky Q, you get:
A smart remote with voice search and Bluetooth connectivity
User profiles for each member of your household to personalise their experience
4K UHD picture quality on compatible channels and shows
Multi-room streaming of different TV channels
Access to the Virgin TV Go app to stream channels on your mobile devices
Virgin Media no longer offers its TV services without a broadband connection, so you won’t be able to enjoy TV-only with the provider. You’ll have to choose a Virgin Media broadband deal, too.
It offers a range of TV packages at different prices, depending on how many channels and streaming services you want access to:
Access to over 100 entertainment channels and a 108Mbps broadband connection.
Access to 190 TV channels, including BT Sport, and a 108Mbps broadband connection.
Ultimate Oomph bundle
Access to over 230 channels, BT Sport, and an ultrafast 516Mbps broadband connection.
Ultimate Volt bundle
Over 230 channels, BT Sport, Sky HD channels, standard Netflix subscription, anytime calls, O2 SIM and a 1130Mbps gigabit broadband connection.
Take a look at our guide to find out what channels are on Virgin Media TV.
Virgin also offers landline services with its broadband packages, which work in much the same way as a normal landline service on the Openreach copper phone lines.
There are five different broadband and home phone packages to choose from with Virgin Media. And they allow for different needs a customer may have, whether that’s evening and weekend calls, anytime calls or international calls.
Volt is the largest bundle package on offer from Virgin Media O2. Not only does it incorporate all four telecoms services into a single, monthly payment, but it adds a whole host of other benefits, too. Depending on which Volt package you choose, this could include:
Ultrafast or gigabit-speed broadband
BT Sport, Sky HD channels and Netflix subscription
Double data allowance on a 5G O2 Pay Monthly plan
A whole-home Virgin Media Wi-Fi guarantee to ensure you get a strong internet connection in every room of the house
Discounts on selected gadgets with an O2 Custom plan
Virgin Media customers were generally quite satisfied with their TV, home phone and mobile phone deals. Volt products are still quite new and they tend to be quite pricey. But once bundles like this become more cost-effective for customers, we might see these services improve in our future survey scores.
If you already have a Virgin Media socket installed at your property, the setup of a new connection is extremely quick and simple.
When we signed up to our M250 deal, our QuickStart kit was sent on-time, with clear instructions and with minimal equipment. Just the router, a power cable and a Virgin Media cable. The rest of the setup was done on a smartphone.
It took less than half an hour from opening the box to getting connected to the internet. And, while we didn’t opt for a landline, Virgin Media has said that this only takes up to five minutes to set up, while its TV box takes 15 minutes.
If Virgin Media is available in your area but you don’t have a socket yet, you will need an engineer to install it. When signing up, you can choose a day that suits you for the engineer to visit your property. You should receive a welcome pack a couple of days before that date.
It should take the engineer between 30 minutes and two hours to set up your connection. But it’s good to organise your installation date in advance, so you can organise the end of your current tariff with the beginning of your Virgin one.
That way, you can stay connected to the internet at home throughout the switching period.
The latest router supplied as part of a Virgin Media package is the Hub 5. While we’ve had connection issues caused by Virgin Media’s network, our Hub 5 router has worked seamlessly since we turned it on.
We’d ideally like to put our router somewhere more central in our flat to maximise its signal, but the router needs to be connected to the Virgin Media socket in the corner of our home, and the cable provided is only a few feet long.
However, since our household is just a two-bed flat, we’re not really affected by the Wi-Fi coverage challenges that some larger homes may experience.
If you’re concerned that a single router isn’t enough to get a strong internet connection in every room of your home, you might be interested in Virgin Media’s new Wi-Fi guarantee.
For an additional £8 per month, the provider will supply up to three Wi-Fi boosters to ensure you get at least 20Mbps internet speed throughout your entire home. That’s the fastest minimum speed guarantee of any broadband provider in the UK. So you can wave goodbye to Wi-Fi dead-zones in the upper reaches of your house.
If you still can’t enjoy a strong connection in every room, Virgin Media will give you £100 bill credit.
Learn more about Virgin Media’s new Wi-Fi guarantee with our explainer.
Virgin Media is a little pricier than some other broadband providers, but this is often due to its high speeds and premium bundle services. However, as the deal we chose is broadband-only, we were able to save money by not selecting services we wouldn’t use, such as home phone or cable TV.
At £29 per month for a 200Mbps connection, we’re very satisfied with the price of our tariff.
It’s not the cheapest ever 200Mbps deal — smaller full fibre providers, like Hyperoptic and Community Fibre, have some cheaper offers for these speeds. But, considering most providers charge at least £30 per month for this speed and some even charge a similar price for speeds that are three times slower, £29 per month is perfectly reasonable for us.
If you’re receiving Universal Credit or another type of financial support, you could qualify for a broadband social tariff.
Virgin Media’s social tariff isn’t very good value, costing £15 per month for quite a slow 15Mbps connection. By comparison, BT and Hyperoptic charge the same monthly price for 36Mbps and 50Mbps deals, respectively. So you could get a lot more for your money if those providers are available to you.
You can compare low income broadband deals from all major providers with our guide: Broadband social tariffs for low-income households.
Unlike many other providers, Virgin Media doesn’t have a set price increase per year. So you’re not necessarily obligated to pay a specific increase in-line with inflation.
This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get a fixed price for your entire term, though. Virgin increased customers’ prices in 2022, for example. But Virgin Media does let you cancel your contract if it does this, which is a benefit that lots of other providers don’t have.
Just keep in mind that you will have to act within 30 days of being notified of your price increase. If you try to cancel your contract because of their price increase after the 30-day window, you will be charged an early-exit fee.
Virgin Media is a very good option for any household that uses the internet a lot. It’s great for people who:
Live with more than three people
Enjoy streaming TV shows and films in 4K
Regularly work from home
Play online games
Need to download or share high-quality files quickly and efficiently
And if you want access to the biggest TV shows, sports fixtures and movies, Virgin’s TV offering is extensive and easily bundled with its other services.
However, if you live in a smaller household and you only really use the internet to scroll on social media or stream the odd show, Virgin’s offerings are maybe more than you need. You could pay a lot less for a much simpler package that delivers everything you need from your broadband deal.
Plus, a broadband connection on the Openreach network might be a bit more reliable and consistent than Virgin Media’s network. So you might have a smoother experience with providers that use Openreach, such as BT, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk or NOW Broadband.
But if you’re a heavy broadband user, you might find yourself limited by the speeds those providers can offer. So if you can access Virgin Media’s network, you’ll certainly be a lot more at ease on one of its ultrafast packages.
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