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Customers unhappy at Virgin Mobile PAYG price hike

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Virgin Mobile is moving some pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers to a more expensive plan.

Virgin Mobile is moving thousands of its PAYG customers to a new price plan from 18 November – but the new tariff could cost them dear.

The new tariff will see people charged £2 for the first 200 minutes of calls each day, £2 for the first 200 texts every day, and £2 for the first 200MB of data used each day.

Details of the new tariff are – strangely – hidden on the “security” section of Virgin Mobile’s website. The information says the PAYG mobile plan “will work a bit differently” and admits “this will affect how much you pay for your calls and texts”.

Virgin Mobile says that if customers are happy with the change, there’s nothing they need to do as their plan will swap over automatically.

Virgin Mobile has also emailed affected customers – but won’t say how many are affected.

The flat rate means Virgin Mobile users will be charged £6 a day for sending a single text, making a single short call and using any data. Being charged £6 a day works out to about £180 a month – significantly higher than even the most expensive pay monthly mobile deals on the market.

After the first 200 minutes, texts or 200MB of data, phone calls are then charged at 1p a minute, texts at 1p each, and data at £2 for each 200MB for the rest of the day.

PAYG mobile deals involve the customer buying credit for their phone with money then deducted each time they make a call, send a text or use data. In general, the plans can be good for light users or those without a good enough credit history to be eligible for a monthly contract.

Gary Caffell, MoneySavingExpert.com energy and utilities editor, said: “This will come as a huge shock to those who don’t use their phones that much and rely on pay-as-you-go plans to avoid pricey contracts and to manage their budget. It could leave some paying a staggering £180 a month just for sending one text a day, making one quick call, and sending one email via their mobile. Many will see this as an outrageous penalty for infrequent use of their phone.

“If you’re affected, act now. You can either buy one of its bundles of texts, minutes and data to keep the costs down, or simply move to a cheaper provider. New rules make switching and keeping your number even easier – you can now leave your current network just by sending a text message, so don’t overpay when you don’t need to.”