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UPD2 Virgin Mobile UK Cap 3G Contract and PAYG Data Speeds at 2Mbps

Tuesday, Mar 5th, 2013 (1:41 pm) - Score 3,258

Angry Virgin Mobile customers with a pay-as-you-go or contract deal have been told that their 3G internet data download speeds are being restricted to a maximum of just 2Mbps (Megabits per second), which comes as part of a “trial” to help improve the networks performance amidst increasing congestion.

Data is an expensive commodity for mobile networks and last year’s introduction of a new “truly unlimited” tariff that allowed Virgin Mobile customers to “talk, text and browse online as much as you like” can’t be helping matters.

Krystal Evans, Virgin Mobile Support, explained:

I’ve received confirmation that we’re trialing a speed cap which has been in place since mid-Feb and is applicable to Contract and PAYG customers, but excludes Mobile Broadband [ISPr ED: They mean the dedicated Mobile Broadband packages with USB Modems].

The current cap is 2Mb/s download, 0.5Mb/s upload. We are doing this to ensure we can offer a good level of service to all customers.

As this is still in trial we are actively monitoring customer feedback to determine its success as we believe this is vital in ensuring we’re delivering the best experience for our customers.”

The Register notes a forum topic where Virgin Mobile’s customers appear to be distinctly less than happy about the development, although other mobile operators have had to introduce similar restrictions in order to keep usage levels under control.

It’s worth pointing out that Virgin Mobile is a virtual operator that makes use of T-Mobile’s (EE) 3G / 4G network in order to run its own service.

UPDATE 7th March 2013

A new update from Virgin Mobile suggests that some customers are also suffering from a seemingly unrelated bout of “unreliable/slow internet connection“. As a result the operator has “asked our network partner, EE to investigate the issue urgently“.

UPDATE 8th March 2013

Virgin Mobile now claims that “our network partner EE have removed certain network controls to see whether this can help to pinpoint the issue. This has included temporarily removing the speed cap,” which is being done partly to see if the recent connectivity problems were related to its introduction. As a result some customers are already reporting a big improvement in performance and reliability.

Meanwhile others claim that the cap was switched off and then appeared to be switched back on again. In either case the move to disable it looks to be only temporary and customers should expect it to return.. eventually.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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