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Virgin Media announces switch to Vodafone mobile network: what does it mean for you?

The agreement will begin in late 2021 and will last for five years

Virgin Media has today announced that all of its mobile services will be moving over to Vodafone from EE as of late 2021, although the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

This includes 5G services, which will launch before the switchover date, in a new agreement that is due to last five years, with existing customers being switched over in the next two years.

Virgin Mobile has said that it will have control over the products and services it offers, so existing customers will not need to change their Sim cards as part of this agreement.

See how Vodafone and Virgin fare in our survey of the best and worst mobile network providers

Why did Virgin Mobile move mobile network?

Virgin Media is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) – an operator that don’t have any mobile phone masts and, instead, piggybacks off the signal provided by one of the four providers that do (EE, O2, Three and Vodafone).

Although motives for the move is unclear, both Virgin Mobile and Vodafone have been looking to grow in what is a very competitive mobile network market.

5G is also seen as a big area for Virgin Mobile, and with this new agreement it’s able to offer 5G services even before 4G customers have been switched over to Vodafone.

Lutz Schuler, Virgin Media chief excutive, said: ‘This agreement with Vodafone will bring a host of fantastic benefits and experiences to our customers, including 5G services in the near future.’

Read more on the 5G plans of all mobile networks in our guide to 5G

How will Virgin Mobile moving to Vodafone affect me?

As Virgin Mobile will have control over its products and services, it has said that customers will not need to change their Sim cards as part of the agreement and most customers will not experience any changes until the switchover date in late 2021, which is yet to be confirmed.

Virgin Mobile has also said that further details on product offerings and network transition will be provided in due course.

Will this affect my mobile reception?

With EE and its MVNO customers, such as Virgin Mobile, enjoying the most 4G coverage in the UK, apprehensions have turned to whether Vodafone’s services will be able to support as many customers as EE is able to.

If you live somewhere where Vodafone’s signal is poor, it’s currently unclear whether you can exit penalty-free, but as more details come, we’ll be sure to update this story and let you know. Although, it’s likely that current customers’ contracts would run out before the deadline, so it’s new customers who are most at risk from any issues.

In the meantime, our mobile phone coverage map can tell you what the signal is like in your area for all four providers. 

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