Is Virgin Media trying to push its broadband-only customers onto one of its bundled services, after it raises its monthly tarrif?
Virgin Media has confirmed it is to raise the price for its broadband-only customers from October, as the ISP seeks to promote its quad-play service offering.
But the company claimed that it is still the only ISP in the UK that offers a broadband connection without the need for a (BT) telephone line, as of course Virgin Media has a separate network to that of its arch rival.
From 1 October, Virgin Media customers who took out a broadband-only contract before May 2014, will have to pay an extra £1.50 per month. It comes after a £2.50 per month price increase in October 2013. The broadband-only price is currently £26.50 per month.
Virgin Media’s network was created from the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2007. That network has essentially cherry-picked the prime locations in the UK (towns, cities etc), and its network now reaches some 12.5 millions premises in the UK. It has 4.4 million customers in total, and offers a broadband, telephone, television and mobile SIM (quad-play) service.
“As part of a review of our services, we are changing the price of taking just broadband from us,” said Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media in an emailed statement to TechweekEurope. “Virgin Media is the only major provider able to supply broadband without a phone line because of our unique cable network and so we remain unbeatable value for money.”
So is the Virgin Media price hike is an attempt to push its broadband-only customers to take more of its other services? For example, customers opting to take Virgin Media’s quad-play service (broadband, telephone, television, and mobile SIM) will only pay £25 a month plus a £15.99 charge per month for the Virgin Phone line.
And price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com noted that Virgin Media customers will also get a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet, worth £159.99, if they sign up its top-tier broadband bundle.
Earlier this month Virgin Media announced the expansion of its cable network, with the addition of more than 100,000 homes across East London, offering superfast broadband speeds of 152Mbps.
That expansion comes amid a growing awareness that poor broadband speeds also affects cities and towns in the UK, and not just rural areas.
Last month for example, the City of London Corporation warned that a lack of affordable superfast broadband in the Square Mile was harming businesses and making the capital’s financial centre less attractive to global companies.
In June a new report from Ofcom suggested that many ‘townies’ could also be experiencing slow internet speeds in their urban cities and towns. Ofcom found that despite the fact that most of BT’s commercial deployment of superfast fibre broadband tended to be concentrated in urban areas, it said that some city and town dwellers are still putting up with “very low” broadband speeds.
In October last year, uSwitch.com claimed that not a single city in the UK had access to superfast broadband.
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