Industry reaction to Virgin Media’s VIP Plus

UK MVNO is the 1st to offer 08 numbers for SIM only 30 day

leading the 30 day SIM market - heywood

The UK’s premier MVNO [Mobile Virtual Network Operator], Virgin Media, has become the first operator to offer inclusive calls to 08 numbers on a 30 day, SIM Only mobile contract. This is a significant move forward because non-geographic numbers such as 08 are expensive for the many Brits who only possess a mobile rather than fixed line phone. Ernest Doku, the mobile expert with uSwitch.com, observes, “This new VIP Plus deal shows that Virgin Media turning its attention to those costly non-geographic numbers and has managed to make the best even better.”

This is the VIP Plus deal. For £18 per month, consumers get the same unlimited texts, calls and data as Virgin Media’s top selling 30 day £15 VIP SIM Only tariff.

However, with VIP Plus, they also get the added benefit of unlimited calls to 0800, 0870, 0845 and 0808 numbers.

“Unlike our competitors who reserve the best SIM only deals for 12 month contracts, we believe customers should get top bang for their buck on a 30 day plan,” said Jamie Heywood, director of mobile with Virgin Media.

Virgin Media was actually the first mobile operator to include 08 numbers in pay monthly allowances back in 2012.

“We’ve been leading the 30 day SIM market since we launched our £15 VIP SIM tariff in May 2013 with unlimited texts, minutes and data,” Heywood observed.

According to GfK’s UK sales data, Virgin’s VIP SIM was the UK’s overall top selling unlimited SIM only tariff.

It has even been the top selling overall SIM contract in the UK over four of the last five months.

Ernest Doku, observed, “While Ofcom plans to make calls to 0800 numbers free from mobile phones, consumers won’t benefit from this until next summer [2014].”

He continued, “This deal puts Virgin Media one step ahead of other providers and the regulator alike by offering consumers the protection they need when it comes to making a ‘free’ call from their mobile.”

“This perk to its SIM only deal pushes Virgin Media into top spot in terms of offering serious value for money to suit most consumers,” he added.

Significantly, it seems that Doku is one of the many industry observers who think that the ability to offer a ‘fourplay’ service is a competitive advantage.

Doku argues that, “The deal could also help Virgin sign up more customers to its other offerings – having a sole provider for TV, broadband, landline and mobile could be an attractive combo to customers. ”

However, he warns, “We only hope that this deal doesn’t spell the end of their existing cheaper options, or become a deal solely for Virgin Media customers.”

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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