Virgin Media network launches in Ireland

richard branson and Magnus Ternsjö at launch of virgin media

The landscape for mobile networks continues to change in Ireland. Virgin Media (formerly UPC) has officially launched today. Celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson had formally announced the rebrand of UPC on the 1st of October.  With trademark panache, Branson arrived to the announcement in Dublin on a Virgin Media branded truck .

Virgin Media will operate on the Three network, the same as is used by recently launched iD Mobile, from Carphone Warehouse. 


Pricing

Plan Minutes Texts Data Cost
Virgin Mobile 1GB 250 250 1GB €15/€20*
Virgin Mobile Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited €25/€30*

*€5 cheaper for current UPC subscribers

The pricing structure is different depending on if you’re already a UPC (Virgin Media) customer or not. Existing customers will pay €5 less for each of the plans.

For those who are currently UPC customers, Virgin Media will offer a mobile plan with unlimited data, calls and texts for €25 per month. This plan will be free for the first three months for existing customers. For those who are not currently UPC customers, this unlimited plan is €30 per month.

The cheaper 1GB plan comes with 250 minutes and texts. This low data allowance will mean that this plan is not suitable for users who use data in any meaningful way. 

Interestingly, Virgin will not offer any Prepay options, but rather only offer Billpay plans on short, 30 day, contracts.


Looking to see if Virgin Media is the right network for you? Our free app audits your usage and shows you the best mobile plan for your needs:


Bundle comparison to competition

Virgin Media offer 'quad-play' bundles — meaning that you can get a bundle with a mobile phone package, TV, home internet and home phone as part of a single bill. The recently re-branded Eir also offer quad-play bundles. 

The main differences between Eir and Virgin Media:

  • Virgin Media offer a faster broadband, with 240Mb versus Eir's 100Mb
  • Eir support 4G Mobile data (Virgin are currently 3G only)
  • Virgin Media offers unlimited minutes to landlines and mobiles in 22 International countries (incl. Australia, USA, UK etc.). This does not come as standard with Eir.

To do a side-by-side comparison, we looked at the two cheapest, and two most expensive, quad-play bundles promoted by Eir and Virgin Media on their websites. Each offer slightly different allowances and benefits, as is outlined in the table below.

In general, Eir are slightly cheaper overall, although the higher-end bundle mobile allowances are slightly low for the average user. You do however get two SIM's and one free phone with Eir Power Large.

Plan Mobile Broadband Landline TV Cost
Eir Power Small (Low-End) SIM Only. 100 Mins. Unlimited texts. 4G plan. 1GB Data Unlimited fibre broadband. Up to 100Mb. Unlimited anytime home phone calls to Irish landlines and mobiles. 55 TV channels with pause, rewind and record, eir Movies. €82
Virgin Media 240Mb Anytime World and Horizon TV (Low-End) SIM Only. 250 Mins, 250 Texts, 1GB Data Unlimited 240Mb Broadband Unlimited calls to Irish landlines, 400 international minutes (22 countries) 50+ TV channels, 14 HD €90
Eir Power Large (High-End) Includes 2 Mobile plans, one with a free phone, one with a SIM Only with 100 mins & texts, 1GB Data plan each. Unlimited fibre broadband. Up to 100Mb. Unlimited anytime home phone calls to Irish landlines and mobiles. 85 TV channels with pause, rewind & record, eir Movies. €110
Virgin Media 240Mb Mobile World and Horizon TV (High-End) SIM Only. Unlimited Mins, Unlimited Texts, Unlimited Data Unlimited 240Mb Broadband Unlimited calls to Irish landlines and mobiles, unlimited international minutes (22 countries) 50+ TV channels, 14 HD €115

Is it worth switching?

This depends on whether you're currently a Virgin Mobile customer or not and whether you want TV, broadband and landline as well as mobile. Overall the new plans don't offer particularly great value for mobile subscribers alone. For example, the standalone Virgin Mobile Unlimited calls, texts and data plan is €30 for non-Virgin customers. A similar plan on Tesco mobile is €25 for a 12 month contract, and on iD it would cost you €29 and would include 4G coverage. 

If you're looking for a quad-play bundle (mobile, broadband, landline & TV) then Eir might have the edge with their cheapest 'eir Power Small' offering slightly better value overall, along with the advantage of 4G, which Virgin Media currently does not support.

However, the difference between the two quad play bundles is marginal, and with Virgin Media offering faster home broadband speeds, as well as home phone calls to landlines and mobiles in 22 international countries, it may be a better option for those who need really high speed home broadband or who have contacts abroad.


Looking to see if Virgin Media is the right network for you? Our free app audits your usage and shows you the best mobile plan for your needs:


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