Virgin Media customers may still be reeling from last week’s unexpected outage, but the company has some big news to share this morning.
The internet provider is shaking up its various bundles and introducing some new plans to give customers more choice over their broadband, TV and phone packages.
For starters, contracts will now be offered for up to 18 months, as opposed to six or 12 months. This means that customers can lock-in discounts for longer if they’re prepared to commit to extra time.
For example, the Virgin Media M100 broadband-only offer costs £28 per month on the new 18-month contract (for a limited time only, we hasten to add). It’s currently listed at £29 per month for 12 months and then £49 each month after that. Meaning that if you ran it for 18 months you’d be paying £642 over 18 months compared with £504 if you signed up for 18 months from the start.
Moving on to the bundles themselves and Virgin Media says that it’s introducing some savings for those wanting extra content. The company’s ‘Bigger Sports’ and ‘Bigger Sports and Movie’ bundles will now both include Sky Sports channels in High Definition at no extra cost – a bonus that’s usually priced at £7 per month and therefore worth £126 on an 18 month contract.
The Bigger Sports bundle costs £65 per month and includes 213Mbps broadband and Sky Sports and BT Sport. Bigger Sports and Movies costs £79 per month and also includes 213Mbps broadband, the sports channels as well as Sky Cinema HD.
‘We’re adding the racing stripes to our entire bundle line-up by making our M500 Fibre broadband available with all of our packages,’ said Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media’s Chief Operating Officer.
‘It means our customers can live life in the fast lane and do everything they want online. Whether that’s streaming Spotify, binging a box set in 4K, gearing up for an epic gaming session or joining a work Zoom call – with our incredible connectivity you can do it all in the same home at the same time.’
Elsewhere, the company’s ‘Oomph’ bundles take advantage of its various different services. It may have a stupid name, but it’s a way to mix home broadband with a mobile SIM. The company says that from £8 extra per month, a customer can take a SIM and boosted broadband speeds – which are faster than those included as standard in Virgin Media’s cable bundles.
All Virgin Media’s SIMs come with unlimited texts and minutes, so you just have to decide on the amount of data you’re going to use.
Virgin Media says it is making customisation cheaper for those on bundles from now on.
It has something called ‘Personal Picks’ which let customers cherry-pick the kind of TV they want. If you’re on a ‘Big’ bundle you could previously add channel packs starting at £10 with each subsequent pick costing £7. Those prices are being dropped to £7 initially and £5 for every one after that.
Picks – which include drama, entertainment, documentaries and sport – can be added instantly to bundles and removed with 30 days’ notice.
Internet service providers are notorious for wooing new customers and largely ignoring ongoing patrons. So it’s nice that Virgin is making some changes to benefit existing customers as well.
The company says anyone who’s on the top-tier bundle called… *eye roll*… ‘Ultimate Oomph’ (which includes two Virgin TV V6 set-top boxes with 265 TV channels, including Sky Sports HD, Sky Cinema HD and BT Sport Ultimate, plus a SIM with unlimited data and inclusive anytime home phone calls) will get even faster broadband and see their speed upgraded from M500 broadband to M600 broadband at no extra cost when the speed tier becomes available.
In addition, Virgin Media says it’s boosting the mobile data allowance for existing customers with an Oomph bundle at no extra cost.
Customers with either 2GB, 5GB or 15GB of mobile data can more than double their data allowance by moving to the equivalent SIM in the new bundle line-up without needing to re-contract.
A customer can get in touch with Virgin Media and ask for the new mobile data allowance to be added to their bundle.
‘With our Oomph bundles you get the best of both worlds: unrivalled ultrafast connectivity for when you’re at home, and do-it-all SIMs so you can stream, scroll, TikTok and talk with all the data you need,’ Dodds said.
‘Plus, with our Service Promise, you’ve got the peace of mind that you can always stay online and connected to everything you love, even if there’s a hiccup with your connection.’
All this combined news means that Virgin Media customers will have some wiggle room to get a better deal on their service and available content. As ever though, the challenge remains keeping the service up and running at all times – something all utilities companies have to content with and something Virgin doesn’t have a great track record with.
‘Our most recent survey showed Virgin Media customers were significantly more likely to have experienced a major connection outage in the past year than customers of other major broadband providers – with one in six affected,’ Natalie Hitchins, the head of Home Products and Services at consumer group Which? said following last week’s outage.
‘The company must up its game and anyone unhappy with their broadband should consider switching to another provider.’
Hopefully for Virgin Media, today’s announcements will be enough to assuage anyone thinking of opting for another provider.