It's funny how some companies can try so hard to seem cool, and fail just as hard, while other companies do it so effortlessly. Led, in spirit, by the undeniable cool of Virgin founder Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile Australia is like your fun-loving friend who never grows up. A breath of fresh air in an industry that can at times seem so stuffy.
But it's actually been a long time since Branson himself owned Virgin Mobile Australia. Optus has wholly owned Virgin in Australia since 2006, but despite both companies working from the same office campus, and sharing a network, there is often few similarities between the way these businesses are run.
Virgin Mobile continues to do things its way, and offers a few unique plan features like data rollover and data gifting which are both worth including in any plan comparison you may be considering.
Virgin Mobile Breakdown
- Often the cheapest for phone plans
- Data rollover on all plans - prepaid and postpaid
- Data Gifting is a neat idea
- Consistently happy customers
- 'Virgin Family' discounts
- Not great for international roaming
- No prepaid handsets
- Included international calls only on most expensive plans
Value for Money
Coverage & Speed
We've put together a checklist of features and options available on Virgin plans. Below is a snapshot of what is available but you'll find the full breakdown at the bottom of this page.
Virgin Mobile Review
How Virgin compares on pricing
Virgin Mobile's plan structure is focused on plans including a new phone, and this tends to be where you'll find Virgin's best offers. It offers the latest phones, like Samsungs and iPhones, and Virgin prices for these handsets tends to be several dollars cheaper per month, at least. A few bucks might not seem like much, but when you multiply a saving like this over 24 months, it adds up.
Virgin prepaid plans are far less exciting and are comfortably outplayed by the smaller telcos. The exception is its Long expiry plans with 365 day credit, but even still, plans from Amaysim and Aldi Mobile are better.
It's also worth noting that Virgin is not strong when it comes to overseas inclusions: both for people who regularly call overseas, or for anyone who travels a lot.
Virgin Mobile has a range of plans available: prepaid and no contract BYO phone plans, contract plans with a new smartphone and data-only SIMs. Here is a quick overview of what you'll find on the Virgin website.
How Much Should You Expect To Pay?
What to know about Virgin coverage
Like Telstra and Vodafone, Optus owes and operates the network its services run on. It is a pretty advanced network too, with the fastest parts of the network now a few steps beyond basic 4G technology.
To do this, Optus uses multiple frequencies in its 4G network and, where possible, it pairs these separate frequencies together for a single connection. It’s like have two beer taps filling the same glass. More beer and faster! Optus calls this 4G Plus.
Coverage of the Optus network now covers 98.5% of the population of Australia, so you should find that Optus will be able to provide you with a service, especially if you live in a reasonably populous area. Many will argue that Telstra’s 4GX network is both faster and farther reaching, but it also is sold at a premium. Optus offers a good mix of solid coverage at a fairer price.
What to keep in mind when comparing Virgin Mobile
- Data Rollover for the win - if there is one thing to remember when comparing Virgin with the other telcos is that it is the only one to offer Data Rollover in all plans. This is a big deal. You'll never need to waste data you don't have time to use, and it may help you consider a cheaper plan.
- Don't underestimate data-free music - it would be all too easy to disregard the data-free streaming of Spotify and Netflix on Optus plans, but this is one of the best deals in Australia. Removing streaming music from your monthly data usage will have a huge impact for a lot of people, and gives you the chance to consider a cheaper plan with less data.
- Great data SIM plans - we're focused on phone plans, but you should also consider Virgin if you are looking for a WiFi hotspot or a SIM for your iPad. Generally speaking, Virgin has some of the best data SIM plans in town.
WhistleOut Staff Review
Why did you choose it?
I choose Virgin because because they offer competitive prices and plenty of data. I bought an iPhone with my plan and Virgin had the best price for the model I wanted at the time.
What has it been like?
No issues to report and good customer service. I like that there are a number of different ways of contacting support. I'm not the sort of person to tweet my complaints, but it's good to know the option is there.
What do you love about it?
I love that I have loads of data for streaming on the go, and that it only costs me $10 per gigabyte if I go over.
What would you change?
I'd like better insights into my current monthly usage. I know I have heaps of data, but I'd like more options to figure out exactly how much is left each month.
Who would you recommend this to?
Anyone who wants the latest and greatest phone but doesn't want to stump up over $1000 for an outright purchase.
Want to contact Virgin Mobile?
13 63 69 (8am-9pm, Monday to Friday. 9am-to-7pm, Saturday and Sunday)
1300 555 100 (8am-9pm, Monday to Friday. 9am-to-7pm, Saturday and Sunday)
Awards and Recognition
Most satisfied customers - Phone Plans (2016)
Best value mobile broadband
Best mobile phone provider 2011/2012
Beyond the facts and figures, you probably have questions about Virgin Mobile. Below is some of the questions we're asked most, but if you'd like to know something else, get in touch.
Virgin also offers data packs to subscribers travelling to countries within select countries, which again are on the Virgin website. Roaming data packs don't include calls or text.
Ratings - Breakdown
|Auto data top-ups|
|Included international calls|
|Unlimited international calls|
|Included international SMS|
|Included international roaming|
|Bundled content subscriptions|
|Data-free media streaming|
|Unlimited on-net calls|
|4G network access|
|Call value per dollar||2.4|
|Automatic prepaid recharge|
Velocity Frequent Flyer Points
|Long expiry prepaid - 6 months|
|Long expiry prepaid - 12 months|
|Discount for upfront purchase|
|No flagfall on prepaid plans|
This checklist is created by the telco experts in the WhistleOut team and includes plan features available in market
|Customer Forum or Blog|
|Manned Twitter account|
|Manned Facebook account|
|Brick & Mortar Stores for support|
|24 hours phone support|
|Usage monitoring apps||
iOS and Android
|% of Australian population covered||94.38|
|4G network access|
|Number of phones||32|
|Prepaid and Postpaid phones|
|Feature phones available|