Virgin Media has introduced two new Pay As You Go tariffs for data-hungry mobile users, starting at just £10 a month.
There are two "Big Data and Texts" tarrifs being introduced by Virgin Media. The cheaper requires you to top-up £10 a month and gets you unlimited data and 300 texts. Top up £15 a month and that's upgraded to unlimited data and unlimited texts.
Virgin Media says that there are no fair use limitations applied to the "unlimited" part of the data deal, suggesting you can stream music and video all day long with the Big Data and Texts deals if you wish. Tethering is not explicitly barred, but Virgin Media doesn't offer any technical support for those who want to tether.
With the tariffs taking care of mobile internet and texts, the £10 or £15 credit can then be used to wipe up any calls you make, which are charged at 26p a minute for landlines, mobiles and calls to your voicemail.
If calls are more of an issue, Virgin Media also offers a Big Talk deal that gives you limited landline minutes and 120 minutes of calls to mobiles for £10 a month. Paying £15 a month on Big Talk also gets you unlimited texts. There's no unlimited data here, though.
These new tariffs make Virgin Media an attractive alternative to GiffGaff, which to date has offered some of the best low-cost, data-heavy deals for contract-free mobile users. It's just the trick for SIM-free iPhone 5 owners. GiffGaff is about to strike off the unlimited data on its low-cost £10 a month "goodybag" too, introducing a 1GB data limit on 6 November.
This will make the Big Data and Texts deal one of the very cheapest ways to get unlimited mobile data. However, GiffGaff is planning to introduce a £12 a month goodybag that does include unlimited data, plus 250 mobile/landline minutes.
Virgin Media says that it has seen a 100 percent increase in the use of data among its Pay As You Go users, and that 40 percent of these non-contract buyers opt for a smartphone. These cheap unlimited data packages show up EE's recently-launched 4G contracts, which start at £36 a month with a lowly 500MB data limit.
There are currently no download limit-free 4G deals available in the UK, suggesting the data hungry may be better off sticking with something like the Virgin Media Big Data and Texts tariff until they are introduced.