Less than 150 days after the £ 31 billion merger between Virgin Media and O2 was completed, the new company has launched its first package designed to combine the strengths of both brands. For the first time, customers can buy Virgin Media and O2 products together – and are rewarded for doing so.
Virgin Media will increase broadband speeds, lower prices for new tablets and smartphones, double mobile data and give free worldwide roaming to O2 customers who choose to abandon their current broadband provider and switch to Virgin Media, or Virgin Media customers, to switch to O2 for their cell phone tariff.
With this new reorganization, Virgin Media O2 is competing directly with BT, which bought mobile communications brand EE for £ 12.5 billion in 2015. The telecommunications giant is offering discounts to customers who sign up for both a BT broadband plan and an eligible EE cell phone plan. Virgin Media O2 also wants to keep customers only with its brands.
The new product range from Virgin Media O2 with the VOLT brand is intended to replace the existing “Oomph” bundles, which combine full fiber broadband, television and SIM-only offers for smartphones. So far, Virgin Media has relied on Vodafone masts to provide Virgin Mobile customers with 4G and 5G signals. This agreement will remain in place for a few more years, but Virgin Media appears to be able to leverage O2’s nationwide infrastructure for new customers.
Virgin Media O2 has highlighted the benefits for those who choose to move their television, home broadband and mobile phones in-house with the newly merged brands.
First off, Virgin Media O2 will take your full-fiber broadband connection to the next available level for free. So if you pay for an M100 connection that offers average download speeds of 108Mbps, you will be raised to M200 which offers up to 213Mbps. Of course, if you’re already using the fastest tariff in your area, you won’t see the benefit. Likewise, those who are already paying for 1 Gbps won’t see a speed boost – as that’s the maximum download speed currently available from Virgin.
If you find rooms in your home where you can’t connect to WiFi from your Virgin Media router, the company will broadcast its Plume-powered WiFi pods at no additional cost. These form a mesh network that amplifies the signal around your home to eliminate black spots.
Virgin Media O2 doubles the mobile data on your behalf for each O2 Pay Monthly plan. So if you’ve signed up for a 5GB SIM-only deal from O2 priced at £ 12 a month, you’ll find that the monthly free offer increases to 10GB at no extra cost. Coupled with the broadband speed increases at home, this is a serious incentive.
O2 customers who choose a broadband package from Virgin Media can roam free of charge in 75 destinations around the world, including the USA, Australia and Spain. That means you don’t have to pay to check emails, send WhatsApp, and make FaceTime video calls from abroad at home.
Finally, Virgin Media customers can access priority deals on high street brands, tickets and experiences. This has been available to O2 customers for a long time, but is now being extended to those who have both broadband at home and an O2 mobile phone contract.
The Ultimate VOLT Bundle, which replaces the Ultimate Oomph Bundle, includes access to Gig1 broadband (downloads faster than 1,000 Mbps – about 14 times faster than the UK average download speed), 230 channels, including Sky Sports HD and Sky Cinema HD on the Virgin Media TV 360 set-top box, free calls to British landlines and mobile phones at any time and an O2 SIM card with unlimited 5G data, calls and texts.
“With Volt, we combine the speed and reliability of broadband and O2 cellular networks with a variety of incredible benefits to give our customers more,” said Jeff Dodds, chief operating officer at Virgin Media O2. “Introducing converged services in less than 150 days as a business is a huge milestone and shows the momentum behind our commitment to improve connectivity across the UK. That’s just the beginning.”