Today, Virgin Media are without a doubt one of the biggest media and telecommunications companies in the UK. Offering the fastest broadband available in the UK for general consumers, a reliable mobile network, home phone and a TV service which stands right alongside Sky as amongst the best available, they’re in a remarkable marketing position.
But if you’re thinking of joining Virgin Media, what is it that you need to know? Well, in this guide, we’re going to share with you the whole lot. From their origins to their current offerings, this is your one stop shop for Virgin Media information. Let’s dig in.
Virgin Media: A History
The Virgin Media we know and love today actually traces its origins back to two iconic brands of the early home Internet era – NTL and Telewest. The two companies trace their own histories back to 1984 and 1993 respectively, and soon became synonymous with the infant internet.
Competing with BT for customers, Telewest once formed part of the FTSE 100, a show of how large the company once was. Meanwhile, NTL had a focus on cable technology and subsequently came to dominate the UK cable market, with over 90% of all cable connections in the UK coming from NTL, powering both pay TV and home Internet.
These two companies merged in March 2006 when NTL purchased Telewest for a substantial sum of $16 billion, to form one of the largest media companies in the UK – rivalling even BT. With newly widened scope, NTL:Telewest entered into negotiations with the mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile UK about the possibility of a merger.
Following a series of failed talks, NTL:Telewest purchased Virgin Mobile UK for £962.4 million, with Richard Branson himself accepting a mixture of cash and shares which made him a 10.7% shareholder in the newly merged enterprise. The deal also included a 30 year exclusivity agreement for the Virgin name and branding, which saw NTL:Telewest become Virgin Media Inc. on the 8th of November, 2006.
Since that date, Virgin Media have launched an all-out assault on the big players in TV, home broadband and mobile, with quad-play deals which have proven extremely successful. Perhaps the biggest boost to their success has been the development of their own fibre optic broadband network, which offers speeds up to 200Mbps in most areas around the UK.
Put simply, Virgin Media have manoeuvred their way to the top of the British telecoms market, and with a big 2017 ahead of them, which will see the rollout of their new TiVo box which supports 4K, we predict the next twelve months are going to be incredibly important for Virgin.
What services do Virgin offer?
If you’re looking to join Virgin Media, then it’s for one of their four key services: home phone, mobile, broadband or pay TV. Each has their distinct advantages and disadvantages over the competition, but what really separates Virgin Media from the likes of Sky and BT is their bundles. So what are the best value bundles Virgin Media offer? Before you call the Virgin Media telephone number, here’s our favourite deals, as of December 2016:
- Player Bundle: Player TV, SuperFiber 50 Broadband & Talk Weekends home phone. Features all free to air channels and players, a 500GB TiVo box for pausing, rewinding and recording live TV, up to 50Mbps broadband with no cap, unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile numbers and over 70 premium channels. £29 a month for 12 months, then £45 a month, plus a £14.99 activation fee.
- Mix Bundle: Premium TV with Sky One and Sky Living, alongside Sky On Demand. A 500GB TiVo box, 50MBps broadband and unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and Virgin Mobile customers. Over 150 channels in total. £39 a month for 12 months, then £50 a month, plus a £14.99 activation fee.
- Fun Bundle: The fun bundle takes the Mix bundle and adds the ‘Fun’ TV package, which includes kids’ channels, documentaries and some more Sky favourites. Also included is a bump to Virgin’s incredibly quick Vivid 100 broadband, which has up to 100Mbps download speeds. You can also upgrade to Virgin’s impressive new TV V6 TiVo box, which has 1TB of space, 6 tuners and the ability to watch 4K content. £49 a month for 12 months, £60 a month thereafter. A £14.99 activation fee is mandatory.
- Full House Bundle: Adding all the Disney Channels, all the BT Sport channels in HD and National Geographic in HD, the Full House Bundle significantly improves on the Fun Bundle. Virgin Media’s TV V6 box is included in the package, as is Virgin’s fastest Vivid 200 broadband, with 200Mbps broadband. Additionally, you’ll get the same home phone package as the packages listed above. Over 245 channels, with 50 in HD. £55 a month for 12 months, then £76 a month, with a £14.99 activation fee.
- VIP Bundle: Virgin’s all out bundle, which features all Sky Sports & Sky Cinema channels in HD, two TV V6 boxes, Catch Up and Box sets and more. The same Vivid 200 broadband features in the Full House Bundle is included, but the home phone package now has inclusive unlimited anytime calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles. £85 a month for 12 months, then £120 a month. £14.99 fee for activation.
Each Virgin Media bundle can be customised to add or remove features to best suit your requirements.