Rating: Virgin Media/Mobile UK fails to impress
It is always dangerous to base an assumption on such a low sample (one person), but the experience of one Brit cellular user has raised our curiosity. This particular reader has been on a 24 month contract with Virgin Media (formerly Virgin Mobile UK) for a BlackBerry Curve 8520 which was utilised purely for work email purposes and not personal calls. Given that the contract will finally expire early this month [January 2013], he called Virgin hoping that the firm’s customer retention policy would at least secure an equivalent deal. No such luck. The agent only made a feeble effort to entice him onto the most expensive tariff.We find this somewhat surprising given that the person in question only took out the contract in question because it was painted as a special deal for existing Virgin telephone and broadband customers.
That represented a typical’ threeplay’ [cable TV, fixed line, mobile] ploy which was popular practice at the time.
Actually, he is still smarting from the fact that the 8520 was described at the time as a ‘smartphone’ – even though it didn’t support 3G, only GPRS.
Which made mobile web surfing a rather poor experience.
Anyway, the tariff was very competitive – 250 texts; 1GB Mobile Web; and 50 minutes talktime all for £10.21 per month. And the handset for free.
Naturally, our reader was hoping for a new BlackBerry handset on a comparable tariff.
But no, instead the agent pushed the Premiere tariff for £23 a month and a BlackBerry Curve 9320.
She neglected to mention the ‘starter tariff’ for £15 per month. Even that sounds expensive but our reader wasn’t informed that the price included insurance with next day replacement.
So obviously our reader went online and found the sort of deal he was looking for – the 9320 from Tesco Mobile on O2 for £10.50 per month.
The only snag is that the data allowance is a mere 100 MB per month.
However, he reasoned that with careful usage (by downloading an app that monitors your data usage) and employing Wi-fi whenever possible, 100 MB was enough.
Significantly, Tesco allows customers to add insurance – but for £6 per month.
Which would, of course, take the total to £16.50 which is £1.50 per month dearer than the Virgin Starter tariff. Ho-hum.
Hence, Virgin missed out on a trick by failing to point this out.
But there is another curiosity dug out by our reader. He only really needs data on the BlackBerry – no talktime.
However, going to Giffgaff, it is possible to get a data only SIM card. The catch? It’s possible to get a 1 GB ‘gigabg’ for £7 from Giffgaff here.
And to add BlackBerry services to Giffgaff goodybags. But you can’t add £3 for BlackBerry to a £7 ‘gigabag’. That seems very strange to us.
We eagerly await comments from other readers on this subject.