Virgin Mobile sees modest increases as MVNO migration continues

(Image credit: Virgin Media)

Virgin Media increased its UK and Ireland mobile customer base from 3.05 million to 3.12 million in 2018, with 17,000 new users added in Q4. The number of postpaid net additions during the same period was 51,000.

The UK’s largest MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) now has 2.74 million contract subscribers – up from 2.54 million – while the number of pay-as-you-go users fell from 514,000 to 376,000 in line with industry trends.

Mobile revenues rose by 10.7 percent during 2018, with new 36 month handset tariffs cited as a contributory factor, but Q4 revenue slipped by 1.3 per cent due to lower out-of-bundle revenue and lower ARPU among pay-as-you-go users.

Virgin Media

More than half of all subscribers (56 per cent) have now been migrated to Virgin Media’s “full” MVNO platform in the UK.

Virgin Media renewed its partnership with EE in 2017 and now has much more control over its network, becoming a ‘thick’ MVNO that has responsibility for billing, SIM cards and other network components.

This makes it much easier for it to roll out new services such as converged products and avoid a repeat of the delayed 4G launch.

The company has previously said it would like to move all users to the new platform by the end of 2019.

Elsewhere, Virgin Media now has 5.95 million cable customers, a modest increase from the 5.8 million it achieved last year. Nearly a third take at least three services from the company, while 19.5 per cent are converged customers – up from 18.9 per cent.

The company will hope its ‘Project Lightning’ network expansion attracts more customers in the next 12 months. The project added 481,000 properties during 2018, increasing Virgin’s footprint to 15.34 million homes and businesses.

Nearly 80 per cent of all customers receive at least 100Mbps, while there are plans to launch 500Mbps in the spring.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.