Virgin Mobile 5G coverage and roll-out

Virgin Mobile 5G Roll Out

Now

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

Virgin Mobile uses Vodafone’s 5G infrastructure, meaning it’s available in parts of the same 100 UK towns and cities at the time of writing.

Virgin Mobile launched its 5G service on January 25th, 2021, and it was available in 100 places on day one. Its coverage will also improve as Vodafone’s does, so if you can’t get Virgin Mobile 5G where you are currently, you likely will be able to sooner or later.

We’ve included full details of Virgin Mobile’s 5G network below, including a list of key coverage locations, spectrum and speed details, and information on how Virgin Mobile’s 5G coverage compares to other UK networks.

Virgin Mobile 5G Summary

Virgin Mobile 5G summary chart

Virgin Mobile 5G coverage

100 UK towns & cities

Coverage checker

Check Virgin Mobile coverage

Network speeds (average download speeds)

5G - 143.6Mbps (Point Topic tests of Vodafone)

4G - 22.4Mbps  (Opensignal tests of Vodafone)

Virgin Mobile 4G and 3G coverage

99% population coverage

5G phones

5G phones on Virgin Mobile

5G home broadband

5G mobile broadband on Virgine Mobile

5G SIM only

5G SIM only on Virgin Mobile

How does Virgin Mobile’s 5G coverage compare to others?

For 5G coverage we track the 120 most significant towns and cities in the UK, and you can see a coverage comparison for those places in the chart below, but if you just want numbers then:

  • O2 has launched 5G in 72 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Three has launched 5G in 67 of the 120 locations below. 
  • EE has launched 5G in 75 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Vodafone has launched 5G in 44 of the 120 locations below. 

Note that a tick against one of the towns or cities below means a network offers some coverage there, but its coverage won’t necessarily be comprehensive. Many locations currently have quite patchy 5G coverage, but this will improve over time.

You should also be aware that buildings can affect signal, so even if there’s 5G coverage outside somewhere, it might not penetrate some buildings.

Town/City

EE

+BT

Vodafone

+ASDA +VOXI +Virgin Mobile

Three

+ iD Mobile

O2

+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff

Aberdeen

Bath

Birmingham

Blackburn

Blackpool

Bolton

Bournemouth

Bradford

Brighton

Bristol

Bromley

Cambridge

Canterbury

Cardiff

Carlisle

Central London

Chelmsford

Chester

Cleveland

Colchester

Coventry

Crewe

Croydon

Darlington

Dartford

Derby

Doncaster

Dorchester

Dudley

Dumfries and Galloway

Dundee

Durham

East London

Edinburgh

Enfield

Exeter

Falkirk and Stirling

Galashiels

Glasgow

Gloucester

Guildford

Halifax

Harrogate

Harrow

Hemel Hempstead

Hereford

Huddersfield

Hull

Ilford

Inverness

Ipswich

Kilmarnock

Kingston upon Thames

Kirkcaldy

Kirkwall

Lancaster

Leeds

Leicester

Lerwick

Lincoln

Liverpool

Llandrindod Wells

Llandudno

Luton

Manchester

Milton Keynes

Motherwell

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newport

North London

North West London

Northampton

Northern Ireland

Norwich

Nottingham

Oldham

Outer Hebrides

Oxford

Paisley

Perth

Peterborough

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Preston

Reading

Redhill

Rochester

Romford

Salisbury

Sheffield

Shrewsbury

Slough

South East London

South West London

Southall

Southampton

Southend-on-Sea

St Albans

Stevenage

Stockport

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunderland

Sutton

Swansea

Swindon

Taunton

Telford

Tonbridge

Torquay

Truro

Twickenham

Wakefield

Walsall

Warrington

Watford

West London

Wigan

Wolverhampton

Worcester

York

Latest locations to get Virgin Mobile 5G

Virgin Mobile launched its 5G service on 25/01/2021, so at the time of writing all 100 covered locations can be considered new and these are:

Aberdeen, Alexandria, Ambleside, Aughton (Sth Yorks), Basingstoke, Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopbriggs, Blaydon, Bolton, Bootle, Bournemouth, Bradford, Bristol, Bristol Airport, Cardiff, Cheadle and Gatley, Cheltenham, Chesterfield, Clydebank, Crawley (West Sussex), Crosby, Dewsbury, Dinas Powys, Droylsden, Dudley (West Midlands), Dundee, Eccles, Edinburgh, Eston and South Bank, Felling, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gosforth (Tyne & Wear), Guildford, Hebburn, Helensburgh, Horwich, Huddersfield, Huyton-with-Roby, Inner London, Isles of Scilly, Jarrow, Kingston upon Hull, Kingswood (Bristol), Lancaster, Leeds, Lisburn, Liverpool, Llandudno, Long Benton/Killingworth, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Morley, Mosborough/Highlane, Newbury, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Oldbury/Smethwick, Outer London, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Prescot, Prestwich, Pudsey, Reading, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sheffield, Shipley, Solihull, South Shields, Southampton, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stranraer, Stretford, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swansea, Swinton and Pendlebury, Tynemouth, Urmston, Wallasey, Wallsend, Warrington, Washington, Whitley Bay, Wolverhampton, York.

Virgin Mobile coverage checker

You can check Virgin Mobile’s coverage using its online coverage tool. This will ask you first whether you’re already a customer or whether you’re planning to buy a phone or a SIM card, then you can enter a location to get a picture of Virgin’s coverage there.

This will show you the 4G, 3G, and 2G coverage as well as 5G, and if you hit the ‘data speed info’ button you can also see speed estimates.

4G coverage

If you’re not in a 5G coverage area then you’ll be using 4G or 3G, and – for 5G customers at any rate – Virgin Mobile relies on Vodafone for that too. However, the company is in the confusing position of using EE’s 4G and 3G coverage for customers who haven’t moved to a 5G plan.

Our focus is 5G, and therefore in this case Vodafone’s coverage, but both Vodafone and EE have excellent 4G availability, so whatever plan you’re on you shouldn’t have anything to worry about there, as the chart below shows.

UK Network

4G population coverage

EE

(+BT)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

99.8%

 Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+Virgin Mobile +VOXI)

99% 

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

99% 

Check Coverage

5G network speeds

Average 5G download speed

Vodafone’s average 5G download speed

Vodafone’s max 5G download speed

176Mbps (Claim from Vodafone)

143.6Mbps (Point Topic)

415Mbps (Point Topic)

There isn’t much data on Virgin Mobile’s 5G speeds, but according to Vodafone you can expect an average 5G download speed of 176Mbps on Virgin, which it claims is around 4.5 times faster than the network’s average 4G speeds. And as Virgin uses Vodafone’s infrastructure we can also look at some of the data for that network.

For one thing, based on September 2020 data from Point Topic, Vodafone has an average 5G download speed in the UK of 143.6Mbps, while its median 5G download speed was found to be 129Mbps, and its maximum was recorded as 415Mbps.

We’ve also seen Speedtest data from Q3 2020, which suggested that Vodafone’s median 5G download speed was similar at 152.17Mbps. Again, this is Vodafone we’re talking about rather than Virgin Mobile, but as the infrastructure is the same the results should be in the right ballpark.

Latency

We don’t have any data on Virgin Mobile’s 5G latency yet, but as with speeds it’s likely to be similar to Vodafone’s, and that network had a 5G latency of 34ms (milliseconds) in central London, according to a RootMetrics report from late 2020.

Latency can affect the speed of a network, as it’s a measure of how long the network takes to respond to a request, and on 4G networks it tends to be in the 30-50ms range. So it looks like Vodafone’s (and therefore likely Virgin’s) 5G latency is right at the bottom end of that, and it’s likely to get better over time.

Virgin Mobile’s 5G frequency allocation

Frequency

Network type

3.6GHz (3600MHz)

5G

3.4GHz (3400MHz)

5G

2.6GHz (2600MHz)

4G

2.1GHz (2100MHz)

3G

1.8GHz (1800MHz)

2G

1.4GHz (1400MHz)

4G

900MHz

2G and 3G

800MHz

4G

The table above shows Vodafone’s frequency allocation, with 5G at the top and other network types lower down. Presumably, Virgin Mobile has access to all the same frequencies, though that hasn’t been confirmed. At the very least though, its 5G access will be via the 3.4GHz band, with access to the 3.6GHz band likely coming soon too, as spectrum in this band has recently been acquired by Vodafone.

These frequencies are what mobile signals are broadcast on, and the higher the frequency the greater the available capacity (in general), which is why the highest frequencies in that chart are used for 5G – because high capacity is vital for maintaining high speeds and reliability as data demands grow.

However, high frequency spectrum is also worse at travelling over long distances or passing through obstacles (such as walls) than lower frequencies. For that reason, some networks might start using recently auctioned 700MHz spectrum for 5G too, though Vodafone/Virgin Mobile don’t currently have access to this.

Vodafone (and therefore Virgin Mobile) has access to 50Mhz of 3.4GHz spectrum and 40MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum currently, so 90Mhz in total, putting it in a solid position in terms of capacity, as EE and O2 each only have 80Mhz of 5G spectrum. However, Three is in the lead on that front with 140Mhz of 5G spectrum. And these totals don’t include spectrum in the 700MHz band – factor that in and O2 has 100MHz, EE has 120MHz, and Three has 160MHz.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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