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What is 4G and how does it work on Virgin Mobile?

4G is the fourth generation of mobile phone technology, providing a fast mobile user experience. Learn all about 4G on Virgin Mobile right here.

What does 4G mean?

4G allows you to access fourth generation of mobile phone technology and allows you to access superfast mobile broadband on the go. It replaced 3G technology starting in 2012 and offers speeds of up to 20 times faster than the previous technology.

4G technology currently makes up the majority of the Virgin Mobile network, though we’ve been rolling out the even faster 5G since January 2021.

What's the difference between 4G, 3G, 2G & 1G

While 1G and 2G was only really suitable for carrying text messages and calls, 3G made it possible to access the internet through your phone.

4G was developed as an improvement on 3G, offering speeds around 20 times faster than its predecessor, and eliminating the 3G network’s congestion issues.

Unlike 3G, 4G allows offers broadband style speeds on the go. With Virgin Mobile 4G, you can expect a download speed of up to 50Mbps – that’s fast enough to keep you enjoying all the online features you love at home.

How does 4G work?

4G is basically a big, high-tech radio system. You’ve no doubt seen the mobile phone towers we have dotted around the country. These towers transmit the signals needed for 4G to work – they send data from your device to the internet, and then send it back again. This lets you browse, watch videos and stream songs on the go.

How fast is 4G?

4G is offers speeds up to 20 times higher than the previous 3G technology. On Virgin Mobile, you can enjoy download speeds of up 50Mbps – meaning you can browse, stream music, and watch videos on the go, just like you would at home.

Virgin mobile 4G explained

Learn about the data benefits we offer to all our Virgin Mobile customers.

Data rollover

We think you should keep what you pay for, which is why our 4G plans come with Data Rollover at no extra cost. When your monthly mobile allowance refreshes, you’ll keep any unused data to use the following month.

The data you saved then gets used up before your inclusive data allowance. And even though rolled-over data only lasts a month, there’s no limit on how much you can keep – and next month you can do the same again!

To help you keep tabs on what you’ve got, we’ll text you when you’re rolling over data to next month, and when you’ve finished your leftover data and started using your normal allowance.

Find out more about Data Rollover.

Data free messages 

To save your monthly data allowance for other fun stuff, you can use messaging on certain social media apps without eating into the data on your new 4G plan.

Use either WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Twitter to message and share pictures or videos with your nearest and dearest, even if they’re abroad.

There’s no catch and nothing extra to pay. Data-free messaging on these apps come with your new 4G plan as standard. Find out more

Additional 4G FAQs

Need more help with 4G on Virgin MObile? Check out the FAQs below.

4G doesn’t use any more data than 3G. However, because 4G is so much faster, you might get through your data more quickly than usual. 4G pages load in a flash, and you can stream videos and music just like you would at home. Overall, you’ll be able to do far more far quicker on 4G than you would on 3G.

With Virgin Mobile 4G, you can expect download speeds of up to 50Mbps – that’s fast enough to keep you enjoying all the online features you love at home, on the go.

Our 4G network covers a whopping 99% of the UK population. Check the 4G coverage near you.

You can enjoy 4G on any Freestyle Contract or Pay Monthly SIM Only plan.

Thinking of becoming a Virgin Mobile Pay Monthly customer? View amazing tariffs.

Yes, you can! If you’re on a Freestyle Contract or SIM Only plan, simply log into your Virgin Account and upgrade to a flexible 4G Pay Monthly plan.

It depends on where you are in your contract. If you’re near the end of your 24-month term, you may be able to move to 4G and enjoy the enhanced speed. Give our team a call on 789 from your Virgin mobile phone, or 0345 6000 789* from any other phone to find out.

You can! If you’re on a Freestyle Contract or SIM Only plan, simply log into your Virgin Account and upgrade or change to a flexible 4G Pay Monthly plan.

View Pay Monthly phones.

Unfortunately, 4G is not available on Pay As You Go, only Pay Monthly.

Don’t worry – you won't be without a mobile service.  All you need to do is put your new SIM in your phone and it’ll switch to 4G automatically.

If you have a 4G SIM and plan but you're using a non-4G mobile, you'll have access to the same allowance, but you'll stay on our 3G speeds.

We’ll send you a brand new 4G SIM in the post following your order. All you need to do is pop your new SIM into your phone and the switch to 4G will happen almost immediately.

Unfortunately, we don't currently offer WiFi calling, but you can use other services such as WhatsApp on Android, or FaceTime if you've got an iPhone.

No, we give you our top possible 4G speeds morning, noon and night. So, you’ll always have the speed you need for your whole data allowance, with no slow down or throttling.

If your 4G’s not working, check out our handy help article. It’s full of tips and tricks that should have you back up and running in no time.

If you’re a customer of both Virgin Media and O2 with Volt benefits, you should visit the O2 4G page for more information.

*Call cost may vary, see our call costs page