Virgin Media freezes line rental for elderly and disabled landline customers
1st December 2016
Virgin Media has launched a new “Talk Protected” plan which will freeze line rental for its elderly and disabled customers who rely on their home phone the most.
This is a comprehensive phone-only plan designed for those who are often underserved in the UK telecoms market, have less choice and are not able to take full advantage of technology upgrades and new services.
Customers currently on Virgin Media’s phone-only plans who are over the age of 65, or have additional accessibility needs including hearing, sight, speech and mobility issues, will be upgraded to the new tier from January 2017.
As part of Talk Protected, line rental charges will be frozen at £17.99 with no future rises, and eligible customers will also receive £5 off of other Virgin Phone plans such as Talk More Anytime and Talk More International Anytime. In addition, Talk Protected customers will receive:
- Inclusive evening and weekend calls to UK landlines and mobiles
- Inclusive calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers and directory enquires (118 180)
- Paper billing at no extra cost
- Caller display at no extra cost
- Voicemail at no extra cost
- Flexible payment options
Gregor McNeil, Managing Director of Consumer at Virgin Media said: “For some people their landline is their lifeline - it’s important that those who rely on this service the most are not left behind. Elderly customers and those with accessibility needs who just want a reliable phone service are often less likely to shop around for deals and don’t benefit from cheaper bundles including broadband or TV. By freezing line rental charges and price changes through Talk Protected, we’re ensuring these customers receive even better value from us and get the service they rely on.”
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at disability charity Scope, said: “This is an important step by Virgin Media, and we are very pleased they have recognised the financial pressures its disabled customers face.
“Life costs more if you are disabled – from specialist equipment to higher fuel bills research shows that these costs add up to on average £550 per month.
“About 25 percent of disabled people have never used the internet, making their landline an extremely important means of communication.
”We now need Government, charities and the whole sector to target digital access for disabled people, which has the power to make life cost less. Many people go online to compare the best consumer deals and offers.”
Notes to editors
Talk Protected is a brand new Virgin Phone tier. It means fixed line rental costs will not rise. It also includes Talk More Evenings & Weekends for free, and £5 off other Virgin Phone plans, as well as the most important line features included at no charge such as voicemail and caller display. Below is the breakdown of Talk Protected phone line plans:
|Plan||Regular cost (per month)||Cost for Talk Protected customers (per month)|
|Virgin Phone line only||£19.00||£17.99|
|Virgin Phone line + Talk More Evenings & Weekends||£24.00||£17.99|
|Virgin Phone line + Talk More Anytime||£27.00||£22.00|
|Virgin Phone line + Talk International Anytime||£34.00||£29.00|
Those over 65 with Virgin Phone services only, and those with:
- Limited mobility
- Limited speech and language
- Limited dexterity
- Cognitive or learning disabilities
- Blindness or poor sight
- Deafness or being hard of hearing
Phone-only customers who are over 65 or have already registered or informed Virgin Media about their additional accessibility needs will be moved to the new tariff in January. New eligible phone-only customers will be able to buy Talk Protected from 1st January.
Existing eligible customers will be contacted and automatically upgraded to the Talk Protected tier.
To note: Talk Protected applies only to customers using just landline phone services – this will not apply to bundled customers (broadband, TV) and will cease to apply if other bundled services are taken in future.
To note: The line rental freeze will apply to new prices which took effect from 1st November 2016 – Line Rental for eligible Talk Protected customers will remain at £17.99.
About Virgin Media
Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.
The company’s dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely available broadband speeds to homes and businesses. We’re expanding this through our £3bn Project Lightning programme, which will reach 17 million premises by the end of 2019.
Our interactive TV service brings live programmes, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games in a set-top box, as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones.
We launched the world’s first virtual mobile network, offering fantastic value and services. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland.
Through Virgin Media Business, we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest speeds and tailor-made services.
Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company, with operations in more than 30 countries.