T-Mobile merger creates Virgin mobile blackspots

26 Jan 2011
Virgin Media 3G dongle

PC Pro Exclusive: Customers lose Virgin mobile connections after merger between T-Mobile and Orange

Some Virgin Media mobile broadband customers have lost their connections, after becoming the indirect victims of the T-Mobile/Orange merger.

Virgin Media is a virtual network that piggybacks on T-Mobile’s 3G services. However, T-Mobile has decommissioned some of its 3G masts in areas that are already covered by Orange, leading to some customers being disconnected. The problem affects both Virgin Mobile customers and those who buy 3G broadband dongles from Virgin Media.

As T-Mobile and Orange integrate their mobile networks, there may be some isolated incidents where signal strength is disrupted

Shropshire-based PC Pro reader Crawford Coulson lost his Virgin connection in the middle of December. When he contacted Virgin’s customer services for an explanation, he was told “the postcode you have supplied is one of the areas in which the T-Mobile signal has been removed and the Orange signal has taken over”.

He was told that he wouldn’t be able to make use of the Orange mast and was offered the chance to leave the network.

A spokesman for Virgin Media told PC Pro that its customers would eventually be granted access to both T-Mobile and Orange. “As T-Mobile and Orange integrate their mobile networks, there may be some isolated incidents where signal strength is disrupted,” the spokesman claimed.

“We understand that not having a mobile signal at home can be inconvenient and will offer alternatives wherever possible. We’re working with Everything Everywhere [the new company formed by the T-Mobile/Orange merger] to ensure any customer disruption is minimal and, as the network integration is completed, all Virgin Media customers stand to benefit from improved nationwide mobile coverage.”

Virgin Media offered to supply the PC Pro reader with a landline connection until service resumed in his area.

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