How to use text, picture and data-free messaging


Is your mobile sending expensive texts without you knowing? Are you due free mobile data for WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter? All your questions about texting and messaging on your Virgin Mobile phone, answered.

What is text messaging?

Sending 160 character messages (that includes spaces) from your mobile phone to another – Virgin Mobiles can’t text landlines. Unlimited texts are included on your Virgin Mobile plan – just minutes after you tap Send, they should ping up on your recipient’s mobile. Rarely, texts can take up to 48 hours to be delivered. Some call texting, SMS (short messaging service).

What is a picture message (MMS)?

One that isn’t plain text or included in your unlimited Virgin Mobile text allowance. Adding a photo, video, sound clip or GIF to a standard text message makes it a picture message or MMS (multimedia messaging service). For how to create and send a picture message, please your device guide, covering everything from setting up MMS to switching off photo messaging, plus what to do if Virgin Mobile MMS isn’t working.


You may be told there’s a picture message waiting for you at virgin.mms.ee.co.uk/virgin, though they usually ping up on your phone – to see it, please go to the website and enter the code you were texted.

Why do my texts keep sending as picture messages?

How to get data free messaging: what’s covered and how it works

All our 4G plans for mobile phones and mobile broadband let you send sound clips (voice notes), texts and pictures on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter, without using your data allowance. Upgrade from 3G and you can enjoy all this data free messaging, straight away. Plus, connect to WiFi or dip into your data and you can do voice or video calls on these apps as well.

What are short code texts or premium SMS?

Some 5 or 6 digit short code numbers let you donate to charity, enter a competition, vote along with your favourite TV show or do another type of one-time payment.

Others subscribe you to an information or entertainment Payforit service, usually until you tell them to stop. You can buy ringtones, games, apps or videos this way. Regular jokes. News, weather, traffic or sport updates. Use helplines or chat services. Download pictures to your mobile. You could gamble and use adult (18+) services when you’ve registered for access in Your Virgin Mobile Account.

Your unlimited text allowance can’t cover these services, which you activate by texting a keyword, contacting a website or calling from your mobile. You’ll be charged for messages you send and receive. Your first message back from the short code number may tell you how much, as well as how often you’ll be messaged and how to cancel.

To check prices and company contact details for specific numbers, download our list of short codes for more about Virgin Mobile premium text messages, including how they’re charged and regulated.

For general information on what short codes are and how to stop them, check out managing your short codes page.


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