The deal will see Virgin Media have full access to Vodafone’s services including 5G network
Virgin Media has agreed a five-year deal with Vodafone UK to bring innovating new services to customers in the UK. The deal includes bringing 5G to around three million mobile users and will allow Virgin Media further flexibility to grow its mobile operation.
The new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement will run until 2026 and will see Vodafone supply wholesale mobile network services to Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media Business.
Virgin Media will have full access to all of Vodafone’s current services and future technologies including Vodafone’s 5G network.
Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schüler said: This agreement with Vodafone will bring a host of fantastic benefits and experiences to our customers, including 5G services in the near future.
“It will open up a whole new world of opportunity for Virgin Media as we focus on becoming the most recommended brand for customers and bring our mobile and broadband connectivity closer together in one package for one price.”
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “We are delighted that Virgin has recognised the huge investments we’ve made, and continue to make, in building the UK’s best mobile network and our role in challenging the market with new commercial services.
“As a result, they have chosen us to work with them in the next phase of their development.”
uSwitch.com mobiles expert Ru Bhikha said: “Virgin Media’s decision to switch their mobile network from BT to rival Vodafone comes as a surprise, but the change offers major benefits for the firm’s three million customers.
“In theory, customers shouldn’t see any disruption when they are moved over from late 2021, and users won’t need to change their SIM cards.
“The agreement means that Virgin Media customers will get to enjoy Vodafone’s 5G network, which launched more than three months ahead of BT’s 5G technology.
“Vodafone has been offering its customers tariffs based on unlimited data, so any similar offering by Virgin Media could be a huge draw for new users.
“It will be interesting to see how far the new partnership crosses over, and whether Virgin Media customers will receive access to Vodafone’s rewards and their VeryMe platform.“But as with any big change, we will be monitoring the progress to ensure that customers are kept well informed of what changes they will face, and hope to see that any issues are dealt with swiftly.
“This joint venture also increases speculation that the two companies could work together in a more formal capacity in the future, potentially taking on the partnership of BT and EE.”
Virgin Media’s current MVNO agreement with BT will end in late 2021 at which point they will make the transition to Vodafone. Virgin Mobile 5G will launch on Vodafone before the transition takes place.