Broadband News

Virgin Media 50Meg price cut boosted customer numbers

Virgin Media has completed the roll-out of its 50Mbps product across its cable network, and in its third quarter results is pleased with the numbers of customers signing up to it faster broadband products. The 20Meg and 50Meg products account for some 503,500 customers, which is a 40% increase on twelve months ago, the majority are on the 20Meg service, with just 20,000 subscribing to the fastest 50Meg service. The recent price cut on the XXL service has boosted the numbers signing up to that product and over 40% of those signing up to this service are new to broadband on the Virgin Media network.

While the low numbers for the 50Meg product look poor compared to the millions of broadband customers Virgin Media has, remember that the 20Mbps service is also sharing this infrastructure, which should help with the paying back of the millions that Virgin Media invested in the DOCSIS 3.0 network. With the current promotion of the 50Meg product which is £18 a month for three months and £28 a month there after (that is assuming you take a Virgin Media phone line), it compares favourably to their big name competition which is BT Total Broadband Option 3 at £18.59 for three months and £24.46 thereafter look expensive and slow. Although the advertising for BT gives a headline of up to 20Mbps speed this is only available in areas where BT has ADSL2+ available via WBC and connection speeds are limited by line length, additionally BT Option 3 is subject to traffic management.

Virgin Media is also continuing with its upgrade of customers on its 2Mbps package to a 10Mbps package, which should ensure the firm comes out top in any national broadband speed comparisons. Also after years of an otherwise static cable network coverage, the firm is increasing its footprint, the results show an increase of 55,000 homes now within the firms footprint.

The price sensitivity in the UK broadband market may be as big a barrier to the roll-out of next generation products as anything else, hence why the XXL product is not selling in the 100,000's yet. The average broadband user is very vocal in complaining about poor quality streaming video and slow speeds, but all too often is not willing to pay the price for a service that would support reliable streaming. The situation is not unlike that of RyanAir where people complain, but it is so cheap that they continue to use the service, because it can be the cheapest way of getting from A to B.

When broadband first appeared in 2000 there was such a latent demand that the £50 a month for just 0.5Meg meant a big rush to sign up, the key for firms now is to generate that same amount of excitement and demand for their new faster networks.

Comments

20,000 on 50M out of 3.77m - 0.53% !!! Clearly a massive demand for high speeds in the UK, not.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

503,500 out of 3.77 on the 20Meg though, suggesting a fair few want more than just 1 to 2Meg though.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 7 years ago

Maybe they're just in the wrong areas - if their cable product comes to Covent Garden I will give it a try.

  • bosie
  • over 7 years ago

10Mb is more than fast enough for me - as for upstream speeds, however, when are they going to increase those?! That would increase demand.

  • imgrant
  • over 7 years ago

I agree with imgrant, my friend has 20mb broadband from virgin with an upload speed of 768kbits. They really should at the very least make it 1Mbit.

  • Darkness123
  • over 7 years ago

I would love to see figures on how many of those customers that are on 50mbit were existing customers upgrading or new provides.

When is ended up having no choice but virgin (512k adsl due to line length wasn't an option id consider) I took the full package 50mbit and paid for the install. But if I was an existing customer id object to paying to have a guy come around and swap the box (5mins work at best) then leave.

  • Drefsab
  • over 7 years ago

I agree with Drefsab, I'm a 20 Meg customer (have been for about 7 months now) and I would upgrade to 50 Meg today if I could self install the kit (or have the option of cheap install). Until this happens I'll have the difference and carry on with 20 Meg.

Rob

  • EnglishRob
  • over 7 years ago

"Clearly a massive demand for high speeds in the UK, not"

There is, but there are a number of factors that affect uptake... location being no.1. If the service was national, you might find it quite a different story.

  • whatever2
  • over 7 years ago

Doubtful, the cabled areas cover every demographic so it's probably fairly representative.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

quote"Doubtful, the cabled areas cover every demographic so it's probably fairly representative"

Tripe, Virgins coverage is nowhere near BTs, why people persist in this make believe people dont want faster speed i do not know, the same people said the same thing when upto 8Mb arrived, funny most of them take that service now.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

Half a million on their 20Mb service, as Andrew pointed out... Add that to the people that have taken LLU ADSL2+ services from other companies, and id say there is more than a fair demand for higher speed. Dunno why its even a discussion each time, if those saying we dont need faster speeds are happy with horrid BT upto 8Mb, then hush and enjoy it.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

People want an adequate service. In contended areas this means getting onto the DOCIS3 platform to even get 10% of speeds during peak times. Oh, and the very low upload...

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

I'm not sure why it's tripe thinking that 12 million homes will have every demographic covered, from Kensington right through to the village of Horndean. Seems like common sense to me. We're very aware of Virgin's coverage being approximately half that of BT.

Given that most fixed rate services have been phased out in favour of Max it's not surprising that most are on Max now.

People do want speed of course, sadly most don't want to pay for it.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

what they dont tell you is if your on 10Mb dont expect no more than 2-5Mb 20Mb no more than 8-13Mb... crap oversubscribed network...

  • tazz_uk
  • over 7 years ago

In places for sure, though the people on 20 who are on the DOCSIS 3 platform mostly get full speed all the time as that network isn't oversubscribed.

Certainly they dropped the ball with capacity when upgrading 2M to 10 though.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

If 40% of households are in cable areas (its a bit more than that) then scaling up to national the demand for 50M at current prices would be 50,000. Wow.

Doubling the 0.5m on 20M still looks sick out of 17m UK broadband customers. Seems you get the speeds you need or you're prepared to pay for so it isn't a supply side failure after all.

  • herdwick
  • over 7 years ago

I suspect the main reason many Virgin 20Mb customers don't upgrade to 50Mb is because they don't believe they will get it. I never get anywhere near 20Mb even at off peak - why would I pay more and tie into another 12 months of abominable customer services to buy something they plainly can't deliver?

  • hypatia
  • over 7 years ago

I would love to get Virgin but they wont dig up the 33 foot road to my house :( I can see 3 green roadside cable boxes from my house, its so near but not available...

  • chefbyte
  • over 7 years ago

"If 40% of households are in cable areas (its a bit more than that) then scaling up to national the demand for 50M at current prices would be 50,000. Wow."

No, that's not a good assumption to make because it assumes that the 60% is the same demographic as the 40%.

An upload increase would perhaps see more take up, you can get 2mb on LLU.

  • whatever2
  • over 7 years ago

chefbyte - When did you enquire? Before or after they started their infill program?

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

Are you still on 512k or 1Mb Herdwick, or do you sub to an 8Mb or higher service?

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

they mean partially complete, various cabled areas still cant get broadband,

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

herdwick should isps only market a one size fits all product then? since by your logic it seems unless a majority of people want a product it is not worth selling.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

No chrysalis, he's saying that headline speed is a marketing tool rather than a mass-use product. This is far, far from unusual in broadband...

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

Ok Ok we know VM are a huge corporation rolling in their profits, but I have been with VM for over 6 years and NEVER repeat NEVER had my line capped or dropped for no reason. I did foolishsly one day over download a file in the middle of the peak time, but got reduced for 5 hours. LoL Anyway upload speeds could be better, but on the whole I pay for 24/7 connection and get it. All in all I hope they bring 100 Meg to this country, before BT stonge age.

  • Toots3D
  • over 7 years ago

Should be noted that that 'BT stone age' is the only reason they offer 50Mbps and the only reason they are working towards 10Mbps upstream. Yes it's all pretty slow going but several reasons for that. VM have no interest in doing anything bar the bare minimum to keep ahead of BT.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 7 years ago

I've had 20 Meg Virgin for most of this year - and it's very interesting to observe the download speeds from different sites: most produce less than 10 Meg, but the Microsoft Update site always comes at a full 20 Meg. Leads me to believe that the throttling happens elsewhere in the network than Virgin's delivery system.

  • JohnEdwards
  • over 7 years ago

"Posted by tazz_uk 1 day ago
what they dont tell you is if your on 10Mb dont expect no more than 2-5Mb 20Mb no more than 8-13Mb... crap oversubscribed network..."

I never get less than 17, call them and tell them, don't moan to people who can't do anything about it.

  • eddieb
  • over 7 years ago

@JohnEdwards

Depends on sites available bandwidth.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

I am annoyed as a long term customer of Virgin(NTL). I am currently paying £25 for L size (10MB). New customers are offered lower prices based on an introductory 3 month price and a price after that. The prices after the trial are much lower than what I'm paying. I contacted customer service, and these prices are only for new customers. If I want to upgrade to XL (20MB) it will cost me £37/month or to XXL (50MB) £53/month!!! Whereas new customers after their 3 month cheap trial finish get the same for £20 and £28 respectively.

  • greenius
  • over 7 years ago

@greenius

Cancel then reorder?

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

I had a great,rock solid and reliable 20MB connection with Virgin until they started rolling out there 50MB service. Speeds have been below par since rarely achieving max upload speeds

  • jbesant
  • over 7 years ago

Dawn_Falcon think of it like this. VM could scrap their top product, the customers on it would either (a) move to another isp and VM lose ALL revenue from these customers or (b) downgrade to a lower speed VM product and VM lose SOME revenue from these customers. So yes selling a premium speed even with low takeup is worth it as it is better having some people pay £30+ a month than none at all.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

The isps (particurly adsl ones) are in a right mess, tripping over themselves preffering to sell bulk amounts of connections that make less than £1 a month profit rather than smaller numbers with healthy £10+ month profits.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

chrysalis - Oh I'm not arguing against it. A top speed with low takeup as a marketing measure is not at all unusual for broadband companies and allows claims about headline speeds.

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

quote"herdwick should isps only market a one size fits all product then? since by your logic it seems unless a majority of people want a product it is not worth selling."

He seems to have gone very quiet, another of the mob that chant we dont need higher speeds who probably subs to the fastest UPTO retail market service he can buy and still suffers poor speeds and thus so thinks everyone should.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

There also seem to be alot of people here on 10Mb+ speeds from Virgin and plenty that want choices to other services like Virgin, nah of course there is no demand. Or so some persist in stating.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

dawn_falcon a top speed with low takeup (but everyone who takes it up connects at that speed) is a lot better than a top speed that only a small single figure % get due to the technology.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

dawn, the mistake you seem to be making is you think its sold just for marketing reasons. But I would hazard a guess when they were selling 50mbit for £50, one customer on that package probably gave them as much profit as 40 or so customers on a £12 adsl package.

  • chrysalis
  • over 7 years ago

Posted by Dawn_Falcon 3 days ago
chefbyte - When did you enquire? Before or after they started their infill program?

this was in the days of Diamond Cable and this is why I campaigned to get BB into our area

  • chefbyte
  • over 7 years ago

chefbyte - I'd strongly suggest asking again then, since Virgin *is* doing some infill work these days.

chrysalis - "just"? No. But *primarily?* And once more, 20MBit is "popular" on Virgin because the old networks struggles to deliver a few MBits, let alone 10...

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

Virgins network persay doesnt struggle providing the speed you pay for, its all down to the area you live, in my road there are several 10,20 and 50Mb Virgin customers who all get the speed they pay for. In the area my siste lives however th 10Mb service can sometimes be as slow as 5Mb and the 50Mb may not even manage 20Mb.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

Id sub to 50Mb from virgin if i knew for sure the service where i live would continue to be great, but there is no way of knowing and as they are a 12 month contract, i wont be rushing to join them, its a shame really, for a common retail to the home type service it is capable of the fastest speeds for many consumers. They just dont have the consistancy.

  • CARPETBURN
  • over 7 years ago

Carpet - Not anymore, from what I'm hearing, although that was true until recently. I'm hearing that the 10MBit is now /universally/ slowing down because of the 2->10Mbit upgrades, which don't affect 20/50Mbit, pushing a lot of people onto 20.

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

@ dawn_Falcon, I don't think they will do it as I have asked numerous times before as they need a way-leave order to dig the road up as its unadopted

  • chefbyte
  • over 7 years ago

chefbyte - Well I'm just saying that if you haven't asked since they formally launched their infil program...

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 7 years ago

Dawn, I will give them a bell :)

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  • over 7 years ago

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