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Mobile Data Usage Policy

Applicable from October 2020

1. Introduction:

This policy explains how data is measured and charged for, explains how some sites and services may not incur additional charges, and sets out what happens when you approach and go over your inclusive data allowance.  We have also included an explanation of mobile data terminology, to try and make everything a bit more understandable.  


2. How we measure mobile data usage:

2.1. We measure mobile data in Kilobytes (KB) and that is 1024 bytes. If Data usage is less than 1KB it'll be rounded up to the nearest Kilobyte (KB).

2.2. Data usage is usually shown in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). A MB is 1024 KB, and a GB is 1024 MB.

3. Explanation of mobile data terminology:

3.1 Upstream data: Data that is sent from a customer’s device to the network

3.2 Downstream data: Data that is received by a customer’s device from the network

3.3 Data protocol: A standard system of rules that allow a network of electronic devices to transmit information with each other. These rules include what type of data may be transmitted, what formats are used to send and receive data, and how data transfers are confirmed.

3.4 Data packet: A data packet is a segment of data which travels along a specific network path used by data protocols such as the Internet Protocol (IP), Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

3.5 Data packet header: The packet header contains information about the data carried by the packet. This enables the network to send data to its destination correctly. A packet header may include, amongst other things, the Destination address (where the packet is going); Source address (where the packet came from); Data Protocol; Data packet number.

3.6 Data packet payload: This part is the intended message or body of a packet. This is the actual data that the packet is delivering to its destination with the help of headers.

3.7 Domain Name System (DNS): This system translates human-readable web address names into IP addresses. For example, when a Web address (URL) is typed into a browser, DNS servers returns the IP address of the Web server associated with that name. The IP addresses are needed for locating and identifying Web servers and devices with the underlying network protocols.

4. Explanation of the flow data over the network, calculation of data usage and charging

4.1 The flow of data packets over the network occurs in both an upstream and downstream direction (i.e. from and to a mobile handset or tablet). Several different data protocols can be used to transmit the data over the network. Some of these data protocols are more reliable from other networks and servers than others, such that not all data packets are successfully delivered first time. We calculate your data usage based on the total amount of data that travels over the network, which may differ from the data your device uses as a result of data packet re-transmission.

4.2 For example, if your connection drops off or if a webpage experiences an error when loading and needs to be refreshed, these data packets will be re-sent and may count towards your usage.

4.3 Your data usage will also include any data packet headers as well as the data payload itself. If the data packet being sent or received is encrypted this may also add additional data consumption. The proportion of data usage consumed by the header and payload depends greatly on what application is being used and what data is being sent. Any data usage consumed by Virgin Media’s DNS service will not decrement your data allowance.

We measure data usage over all network technologies (e.g. 2G, 3G, 4G & 5G) in the same way.

4.4 Visiting Virgin Media portal pages and help pages in the UK and EU with Roam Like Home will not decrement your data allowance or attract additional charges..

Virgin Mobile customers on our 4G plans benefit from inclusive data-free messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. Making voice or video calls from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps will decrement your data allowance and is chargeable. Live streaming from Twitter will also consume your data allowance and is chargeable

4.5 As with most websites and apps, there may be third-party resources used - for example analytics tools, JavaScript, media libraries, Google code, Fonts; third party Ads, maps, external and embedded video content (YouTube, Vimeo etc.). All of these are fairly normal for most modern websites and apps, because of the difficulty in associating such third part content to a specific site it is nearly impossible to make third party content data-free. These third party components on websites and in apps may contribute to additional data consumption.

4.6 If proxy servers or Virtual Private Network (VPNs) are used to access the Virgin Media portal pages or the data-free messaging services, the encrypted data will flow between your device and the proxy or VPN provider’s network path, so we cannot tell if the usage should be data-free. As a result all data usage through proxy servers or VPNs will consume your data allowance.


5. Data charging and rounding rules

5.1 All data is rounded up to the nearest 1KB. Once data has reached our network billing rules are applied as to whether the specific type of data is chargeable dependent on tariff and bundle. Tariffs and bundles can change over time and are identified on our website

5.2 When a data bundle reaches 80% and 100% you are notified by text message alerts (If you are connected to the network), and when the allowance is used up you will move to an out of allowance bundle as per the Tariff guide. If you prefer to limit the amount of out of allowance charging, you could set up or change the Spend Cap on your plan before your next bill refresh date. Find out more on how to add a Spend Cap at

 5.3 Website link to Tariff guide:


6.  Unlimited data:

6.1 Where Unlimited data is included in contract or bundle, there is no data cap. Mobile data usage is subject to adherence with AUP (Acceptable Usage Policy), fraud exceptions, and all other T&C’s. Other restrictions could apply if non-payment or late payment of services is encountered.

6.2 Website link to AUP::