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Virgin Media announces 18-month contracts in big bundle shake-up

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Virgin Media has launched 18-month contracts and is offering free upgrades including mobile data boosts, faster broadband and cheaper TV packs. How do the deals stack up?

The media giant said customers will be able to lock in an extra six months of discounts as it introduces 18-month contracts.

As an example, a customer who takes the Bigger Movies bundle which includes Sky Cinema HD and 108Mbps broadband will pay £62/month for 18 months, and could save up to £186 over the contract length compared to the 12-month equivalent.

Virgin Media’s M100 broadband-only package which comes with 108Mbps broadband costs £28/month on an 18-month contract.

Further, its Bigger Sports and Bigger Sports and Movie bundles both include Sky Sports channels in High Definition at no extra cost – usually £7 per month.

The Bigger Sports bundle costs £65/month and includes 213Mbps broadband and Sky Sports and BT Sport. Bigger Sports and Movies costs £79/month and also includes 213Mbps broadband, the sports channels as well as Sky Cinema HD. Both bundles come with 18-month contracts.

As part of its ‘Oomph’ bundles for those who take cable and mobile services, Virgin Media said for an extra £8/month, customers can take a SIM and boosted broadband speeds – faster than those included in the standard bundles. All SIMs come with unlimited texts and minutes.

Its ‘Personal Picks’ will allow customers to build a personalised TV service for less. They start from £7 and each subsequent pick costs £5 per month. Personal Picks were previously priced at £10 for the first pick with each subsequent pick costing £7 per month. It added it will move exiting customers who are paying the higher price onto the new, lower priced deal.

Turning to free upgrades for existing customers, Virgin Media will offer mobile data boosts, faster broadband and cheaper TV packs for free.

As an example, customers who take Virgin Media’s top-tier bundle, ‘Ultimate Oomph’ – which includes two Virgin TV V6 set-top boxes with 265 TV channels, including Sky Sports HD, Sky Cinema HD and BT Sport Ultimate, plus a SIM with unlimited data and inclusive anytime home phone calls – will get even faster broadband and see their speed upgraded from M500 broadband to M600 broadband at no extra cost when the speed tier becomes available.

For existing customers with an ‘Oomph’ bundle, they’ll see their 2GB, 5GB or 15GB mobile data more than double to 5GB, 15GB and 40GB respectively. Customers won’t need to re-contract and can get in touch with Virgin Media to ask for the new data allowance to be added to bundles.

Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer, said: “We’re offering even greater value with our new bundle line-up which brings together the best connected entertainment, the fastest widely available broadband speeds and fully loaded mobile plans so our customers can stay in touch with the people they love for less.

“Plus, we’re rewarding our existing customers with great upgrades, including a broadband boost, better value TV Picks and more mobile data – all available at no extra cost”.

How good are Virgin Media’s offerings?

Ernest Doku, Uswitch’s broadband and tech expert, said on the face of it, these offers may seem quite tempting when it comes to looking for an all-singing, all dancing bundle for your home broadband and TV package.

Doku said: “Virgin Media also offers broadband download speeds which are hard to match from most other providers, however they won’t necessarily be right for every customer.

“Deals that lock you in for 18-months keep you tied to you contract for longer and it is also worth bearing in mind that your provider can increase the price of their offer at any time, providing they give you an opportunity to leave the deal penalty free.

“These are also still introductory offers, which can increase significantly in price when the deal comes to an end.

“If you are an avid sports fan, or keen on having access to the Sky movie channels, these deals offer a degree of simplicity, as it is all there on one platform. However, if you use services such as Now TV or Amazon Prime Video, you can turn your subscription on and off, which could save you money in the long run.

“Overall, Virgin Media’s bundled deals will be right for some consumers, however, it is always worth running a quick comparison on the different products and services available before signing for the next 18-months.”