How does Virgin Mobile measure up when it comes to internet on-the-go? We suss out the answer.
Virgin Mobile has been a leading telco provider in Australia since launching in 2000. It offers competitive prepaid and postpaid plans for mobile phone and mobile broadband. Virgin operates on the Optus network, which means it reaches 98.5% of the population with 3G and offers superfast connection to customers able to connect to the 4G network (generally accessible in major metropolitan areas).
If you are looking at Virgin Mobile for mobile internet, remember that as an Optus reseller with wholesale access to the Optus network, customers can expect coverage that is virtually indistinguishable from Optus, with an independent pricing structure. Some other pluses for the service include free voicemail, free virgin to virgin calls and texts, and the data pricing structure which charges per Kilobyte, not per Megabyte.
What mobile broadband plans and bundles does Virgin Mobile offer?
Good to know: There is no excess charge but if you exceed your monthly limit your speed will be reduced.
With a device from Virgin:
- $60 per month plan. 13GB of 3G/4G access on a 12 month contract.
- $40 per month plan. 12GB of 3G/ 4G access on a 12 month contract.
BYO modem or device (no lock-in contracts):
- $20 2GB
- $30/ 6GB
- $40/ 12GB
- $60 13GB
Good to know: Excess data charges apply at 0.2c/KB and 12c/MB (Yes Internet) and is deducted in 1MB units.
Data recharge vouchers available:
- $15/ 400MB (15 day expiry)
- $19/ 750MB (30 day expiry)
- $29/ 2GB (30 day expiry)
- $49/ 4GB (45 day expiry)
- $99/ 8GB (180 day expiry)
- $149/ 12GB (365 day expiry)
- $199/ 18GB (365 day expiry)
Get set up with a device from Virgin:
- Prepaid micro SIM $99/ 10GB (365 day expiry)
- Huawei portable modem $199/4BG (30 day expiry)
All prices state above are current as of April 2015.
Streaming with Vodafone
Streaming is a way to watch movies, TV shows, and other content immediately and continuously, without needing to download anything. The content will load while you watch, so it’s theoretically the fastest and most convenient way to watch.
With so many services such as Netflix, Stan, and Presto offering streaming and video-on-demand services, a big factor to consider when you're choosing a mobile internet service is if the download speed and connection will be enough to support streaming.
How does it work?
For streaming to be smooth, the rate that the data is delivered to the plug-in or streaming client needs to be consistent and delivered at just the right speed. If the data is received too quickly for the plug-in to deal with, you will get the dreaded ‘buffering’ notification. If the data comes too slowly, your content will stop and load.
Video-on-demand services are usually available on a subscription basis that you can pay for monthly. Now is a good time to sign-up as, with so much competition, customers can afford to be picky and select the service that’s perfect for them.
What video-on-demand subscriptions can I use with my portable device?
- Netflix is available for $8.99 per month and is mobile-friendly.
- Stan is available for $10 per month on most newer models of iPhones, Android devices and tablets. Check their site for a complete and updated list of compatible devices.
- Presto is available on select Apple and Android handsets and tablets for $14.99 per month.
- Quickflix offers unlimited streaming-on-demand across a range of devices for $9.99 per month.
If you’re going mobile you will need an internet enabled device. Here is a run-down of some of the most popular devices for mobile internet users:
Portable dongle. An internet dongle, or mobile broadband stick, is a plug-in device that connects to your computer via the USB port. They are small, light, convenient to carry and generally don’t need to be charged.
Mobile handsets and tablets. You can bring your own handset to Virgin and simply insert your SIM for instant access to 3G/4G internet. Most newer phones and tablets are supported by localised apps for popular streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, and Presto.
Portable Modem. Virgin has a BYO modem offer. It suits tablets, and phones, and well as pocket modems: portable WiFi devices that are small enough to take everywhere you go.
Frequently asked questions
What kind of coverage will I get with Virgin mobile internet?
The coverage and connection speeds available to you will largely depend on your device and location. With 3G devices you will get access to the Optus 3G network, which reaches most of Australia’s population. With a 4G enabled device, you will able to access the 4G network where it is available. If you are unsure if 4G is available in your location, head to Virgin Mobile’s site to check the coverage map and match up your address and device with Virgin’s network.
How can I get in touch with customer service?
Virgin has a customer service team available on the phone and over email. You can also connect with the community and look up support topics in the forum, available on the Virgin website.
If the network is exactly the same as Optus, why is it cheaper?
Virgin sets its prices independently from Optus which allows them to charge a lower price for data services.
Are there any unmetered sites available over Virgin Mobile?
No, access to all sites through Virgin is metered. If you are a heavy user or would like to stream a lot of content, have a look at the larger postpaid offers and consider the Value Add packs.