Virgin Media, Vodafone UK strike mobile deal
November 6, 2019
Virgin Media has agreed a five year deal with Vodafone UK to bring new services, including 5G, to more than three million mobile customers and provide further flexibility to grow its mobile operation.
The new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement, which runs until 2026, will see Vodafone supply wholesale mobile network services, including both voice and data, to Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media Business. Virgin Media will have full access to all of Vodafone’s current services and future technologies, such as Vodafone’s expanding 5G network, enabling new product advancements and benefits for its customers.
Virgin Media’s current MVNO agreement with BT Enterprise, which has been in place since January 2017, will come to an end in late 2021, at which point Virgin Media’s mobile offering will transition to Vodafone. Virgin Mobile 5G services are set to launch on the Vodafone network before the transition takes place.
Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media CEO, said: “This agreement with Vodafone will bring a host of fantastic benefits and experiences to our customers, including 5G services in the near future. Twenty years ago Virgin Mobile became the world’s first virtual operator and this new agreement builds on that heritage. 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.”
He added: “We’ve worked with BT to provide mobile services for many years and will continue to work together in a number of areas. We want our customers to have a limitless experience – it’s now the right time to take a leap forward with Vodafone to grow further and faster.”
Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO, 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. This is an exciting deal between two great British brands. We are combining our strong heritage in innovation to create a world without limits for our customers through unlimited data offers and 5G.”
As a ‘full MVNO’, Virgin Mobile has control over the products and services it offers, which means existing customers will not need to change their SIM cards as part of this agreement. Further details on product offerings and network transition will be provided in due course.
A complementary and extensive wholesale agreement has also been struck between both parties in relation to the supply of network services by Virgin Media Business to Vodafone.
Commenting on the deal, analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight, said: “This cements the growing relationship between both parents in other European markets. For Vodafone this is a great coup as it continues to turnaround its fortunes in the highly competitive UK market. For years, Virgin Media has been hampered with its current EE deal. This latest deal will give the MVNO more flexibility to compete with rivals.”