This week’s email is for those of you who have (or would like to have) a mobile phone on a “Pay As You Go” tariff. That means rather than paying a monthly bill for your phone, you buy “credit” in advance and use it as and when you need it.
If you only use your phone for the odd text message or phone call… maybe you use it on the internet as well, but only on wifi… then this is the type of tariff you want. It can work out a lot cheaper than a monthly contract, because you’re only paying for what you use.
Until recently, one of the most popular options for Pay As You Go was Virgin Mobile. They were good value, you could get a decent phone signal in most places, and their customer service was surprisingly helpful if you had a problem. I used Virgin Pay As You Go for many years before switching to a contract.
As did a lot of other people.
However, the powers that be at Virgin Mobile have decided that Pay As You Go has had its day. Most of their customers have switched to a contract now (having been poked and prodded to do so over the last few years).
You haven’t been able to buy a new Pay As You Go phone from them for a little while now, but towards the end of this year, they’ll be stopping the service altogether. That means that if you use the Virgin Pay As You Go service at the moment, you’ll need to either switch to a “Pay Monthly” contract, or use a different phone network.
If you’ll be affected directly, Virgin will be in touch with you to explain your options. Basically, you’ll have 3 months to either use up the rest of your credit, switch to a contract or request a refund.
If you’d like to stick to Pay As You Go, there are still plenty of good options out there. All the big networks – EE, O2, Vodafone and 3 – have Pay As You Go tariffs, although it’s a good idea to compare the deals to see which one works out best for you. If you’re looking for a very simple tariff, you might want to check out Giffgaff. They don’t have lots of fancy “add-ons” or “rewards” – you just pay a flat amount for each text message, each minute of calls and each MB of data you use.
If you do decide you want to switch networks, you can keep your phone number if you like. Your new network provider will give you instructions on how to do it, or if you go into a shop, an assistant should be able to help you with it.