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Virgin Mobile launches 5G – and it has a new network partner

26 January 2021

Virgin Media 5G

Virgin Mobile has switched on its 5G service, giving customers who upgrade to 5G access to the superfast speeds in 100 UK locations. However, while Virgin Mobile’s 4G customers will be accessing EE’s network infrastructure, those on 5G will be using Vodafone’s network.

This isn’t new information. Virgin Mobile had previously revealed that its 5G service would by powered by Vodafone – and going forward its 4G service will be changing provider too, but not until the end of the year.

As Virgin Media is using Vodafone’s 5G, that means customers will have coverage in all the same places as Vodafone, meaning parts of 100 UK locations, including most large towns and cities:

Check Virgin Media coverage

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

Mangotsfield

Middlesbrough

Morley

Mosborough/Highlane

Newbury

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newtownabbey

North Shields

Oldbury/Smethwick

Outer London

Paisley

Penarth

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Prescot

Prestwich

Pudsey

Rawmarsh

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

4.5 times faster

In terms of speeds, Vodafone claims that customers on Virgin Media 5G can expect average download speeds of 176Mbps, which is around 4.5 times faster than the average 4G speeds they’d have been getting. So 5G is a big speed upgrade – as well as being more reliable and offering lower latency.

You’ll need a 5G phone to take advantage of this of course, but Virgin Mobile now stocks a range of these, including the new Samsung Galaxy S21 range, and includes 5G at no extra cost. And if you already have a 5G phone, you can also get 5G at no extra cost on a range of SIM-only plans.

It’s worth noting that this move to Vodafone’s infrastructure will likely only be temporary, as Virgin Mobile is planning to merge with O2 – but even assuming the deal goes through, we’d expect any switch to O2’s infrastructure is a long way off.

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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