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UPDATE2 Virgin Media Resuscitate 50Mbps Broadband as a Budget Option

Thursday, June 29th, 2017 (9:47 am) - Score 2,710
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

Earlier this year Virgin Media made the bold decision to adopt “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) as the entry-level speed for their service (here), although ISPreview.co.uk has learnt that the cable operator is about to test the reintroduction of their old 50Mbps tier as a new budget package.

At the end of last year we reported that Virgin Media was in the midst of considering the launch of a cheaper budget option (aka – “Project Prosecco“), which would focus on competing against some of the market’s cheapest but also slower broadband packages (e.g. Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and so forth).

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, said (Dec 2016):

“There are a lot of people down in the more economic sector but we think there is room for everyone in this market.”

Traditionally Virgin Media has preferred to foster more of a premium image, where being able to offer ultrafast speeds and TV has served them well. However the on-going expansion of their network coverage also leaves room for a more mass market appeal, which means being able to offer a low cost unlimited broadband service that can compete with the budget crowd. Not to mention that many people don’t yet need 100Mbps+.

Virgin’s old unlimited 50Mbps package had a standard price that is roughly the same as their newer 100Mbps entry-level option, which replaced it in March 2017 (e.g. £32.25 a month for 12 months standalone or £40 for broadband + phone). By comparison we understand that the new service, which could go live on Monday (3rd July) next week, will cost £26 per month standalone or £29 with phone.

Apparently the revived service is going to be treated as somewhat of a temporary pilot to test the waters and see how much interest it attracts, which is easy to do because much of the back-end tracking for the product still exists from when it was replaced in March. At this stage we don’t know if it will show up for everybody via the ISP’s primary website or only under certain conditions or in certain areas.

On top of that we also don’t know precisely what kind of usage allowance, traffic management policy or other service features may be present on the new package (unlimited is suspected). This is an issue because the proposed price point looks very similar to Virgin Media’s old 50GB capped version of the same package for light users (here). We hope to have more details shortly.

UPDATE 1:55pm

We can confirm that the new package will indeed offer unlimited usage. The only caveat is that you won’t be able to take it with their TV service (i.e. it’s only for standalone and broadband + phone bundles, as stated above).

A Virgin Media Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re always looking at new ways we can give our customers an amazing service and often review our products and bundles. We’ll have some more news for you soon.”

Interestingly we also understand that the new budget package is not related to last year’s so-called “Project Prosecco,” which suggests that Virgin Media may also have something else planned for the budget market.

UPDATE 3rd July 2017

As reported last week, the 50Mbps package has now returned to Virgin Media’s website. The prices mentioned earlier (plus the usual £20 one-off setup fee) still appear to be correct for a 12 month term, although oddly the £29 per month broadband and phone bundle becomes £40 per month after the initial contract period and that’s strange because it’s the exact same post-contract price as VM’s next 100Mbps package.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar mart

    As a former Virgin customer got to say I thought the broadband was great….if they really are offering £26 for 50 mb download speed then this is gonna hurt the competition or start a new price war! Win Win for the customer!

  2. Avatar Aston

    It’s only £4 less than I pay currently (internet only) surely they could cut it to maybe £20 to really squeeze the competition

  3. Avatar alan

    Don’t forget 30 day only contracts also available for any negative nancy that decides to comment with their fairytales of woe.

  4. Avatar Philip

    Not surprised at all that Virgin Media are finally coming to the conclusion they need to offer a cheaper option for those that want broadband only, no wonder they are having difficulties at retail.

    There looks to me for broadband like far more competition now from all the providers using the BT openreach network, I personally moved from Virgin Media to the Vodafone broadband option for only £23 per month (fixed for 18 months).

    The other thing that any virgin media customer will be aware of is that you have an agreed price then for whatever reason virgin media do an across the board increase after a few months, they should at least make the minimum contract length (usually 12/18 months) a guaranteed fixed cost.

    I had Virgin Media broadband for many years and never had any issues with their fibre connection, it’s only their price gouging of customers which is their undoing…

    • Avatar ultraspeedy

      “…that you have an agreed price then for whatever reason virgin media do an across the board increase after a few months, they should at least make the minimum contract length (usually 12/18 months) a guaranteed fixed cost.”

      Err
      1 There is no special deals for x months on the 50Mb
      2 The 30 day contracts cost the same as long term option, so unless you daftly sign up to 18 months the price and contract length is fixed for 30 days.

  5. Avatar VirginMedia Victim

    Even though I’ve never missed a bill, never paid late, been with them for over 15 years always paid direct debit, Virginmedia has literally just priced me out their service today, so I’ve just given them notice to quit just moments ago.

    I’m so pi$$ed of with them, my bill has risen 4x in the last nine months which is the sort of shit they do when your a good customer but out of contract, they literally try to squeeze you and force you in to a contract or out of service like today.

    Their best SCAM is this, and they do this every single time!

    I was on 50mb in the past, they sent out letters saying just letting you know that we’re going to be rolling our improved speed upgrade to existing customer around the country at no extra cost and with no additional contract for free and you won’t have to do anything either it will just happen when the time comes.

    Then they bump up your speed i.e 75MB (but here’s where the next part of the scam comes in) and you think well okay, that’s not too bad.

    Then without fail in a matter of months the scam starts to become clear, as going forward you will at some point receive a letter effectively saying (and this is without fail), given the current cost of inflation and for us as a company to grow and remain competitive we will be introducing a price increase.

    Then to add insult to injury, when you call them and are like WTF man, they immediately proceed to justify the price increase by comparing the current speed that they automatically just put you on, with what their competitors.

    They up your speed in a free no contractual speed boost from 50mb to 75mb and then proceed to compare your NOW 75mb speed and pricing with that of their competitors.

    Now to add insult to injury, they did it to me and compared the current speed and price that im on with their competitors, only difference being that the competitor was actually also offering other additional services including TV packages, phone line and free call time plus other junk that i don’t need.

    Whereas Virginmedia were supplying me one item and that being one 75ohm coaxial broadband connection and nothing else.

    So since October 2016 they’ve upped my monthly outgoing an additional £10 and their solution is now, sign up with one of our contracts and take out TV, phone and other BS for what i’m already paying at the moment.

    Which is NO good for me as i don’t watch TV, haven’t in over 10 years, no do i need another phone as i already have two, a work one and personal one.

    The other option they offered me, was to pay around the same amount still and be downgraded back to 50mb, so pay more money and get a lesser service, even though i was originally on the slowest 50mb package they previously on, until they decided to increase the speed of it and reintroduce the an inferior package.

    Its absolutely f**king crazy..

    Its absolutely f**king shocking that they bump up everyone’s speed tell you its going to be free going forward and then at a later date then use that speed you’re currently on as a benchmark to base their new extortionate prices on. Its a f**king SCAM!

    Why of f**king why are they prepared to kick customers like me to the curb and treat a customer that has never missed a bill, never delayed payment, always paid by direct debit, never calls them out not once in all those years, and they treat you like shit.

    No BS, their service when it works is great, their customer service is among the most untrustworthy ever, make sure you record your calls when on the phone to them. By broadband has been up and down like a Yoyo the last couple of months they have that on their system, have never at any more point reimburse me for the down time, nor have i asked to be even tough they were aware of the situation and the problem on their network and they repay you by putting up the price and treating you like a c**t.

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