Hyperoptic vs Virgin Media

Last updated: 12 February 2024   By Samantha Smith

Virgin Media and Hyperoptic are both gigabit-capable providers, although availability varies across the UK.

Hyperoptic offer cheap broadband deals with a choice of contract length and promise no mid-contract price hikes.

Virgin Media, on the other hand, have wider availability to more than 16 million premises, as well as faster average download speeds, and additional services with Stream and 360 TV.

For those who want a straightforward fast broadband connection Hyperoptic likely offers the best value for money, but Virgin Media will appeal to those looking for a more well-rounded entertainment plan.

hyperoptic vs virgin media

At a glance

Hyperoptic Virgin Media
Monthly price From £17.99 From £29
Setup cost £10 - £39 Free
Minimum term 1 / 12 / 24 months 18 months
Annual price rise No mid-contract price rises RPI + 3.9%
Connection Full fibre Cable / full fibre
Download speeds 33Mb, 57Mb, 158Mb, 522Mb, 900Mb 54Mb, 132Mb, 264Mb, 362Mb, 516Mb, 1130Mb
Upload speeds 1Mb, 5.7Mb, 158Mb, 522Mb, 900Mb 5Mb, 20Mb, 25Mb, 36Mb, 52Mb
Router Hyperhub Virgin Hub
WiFi guarantee £7/mth £8/mth for 30Mbps
Parental controls Router-level Virgin Media Web Safe
Home phone £2 - £3/mth Varies
Anytime calls £3 (UK landlines only) £10 (inc. UK mobiles)
TV Not available Stream or TV 360

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M125 Fibre Broadband 132Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + No setup fee (was £35)
Superfast (24 months) 158Mb average £30 £19 24 months

Price

Winner: Hyperoptic broadband is cheaper than Virgin Media broadband, although Virgin Media is still competitively priced.

Hyperoptic's pricing is generally cheaper than Virgin Media, however it does vary depending on the package. For example, Hyperoptic's cheapest plans only offer download speeds up to 57Mbps, while Virgin Media's cheapest option provides average downloads of 132Mbps.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Light 30Mb (24 months) 33Mb average £17.99 £10 24 months
M125 Fibre Broadband 132Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + No setup fee (was £35)

Virgin Media M125 is their best value deal and costs just £29 per month for 18 months with no setup fee.

In comparison, while Hyperoptic offer cheaper deals than this, the download speed is also less. Light offers 33Mbps speeds for £17.99 per month, while Fast offers 50Mbps for £26 per month.

At the other end of the scale, Hyperoptic Hyperfast offers 900Mbps download speeds and costs just £39 per month, while Virgin Media's fastest Gig1 plan offers 1130Mbps and currently costs £42 per month.

Ultimately, it's worth comparing deals side-by-side to see which provider offers the best price for the download speed a household wants.

Annual price rises

Hyperoptic have been vocal advocates of no mid-contract price rises, and they promise not to increase the price a customer pays during their minimum term period.

In contrast, Virgin Media have one of the more expensive annual price rise clauses, increases prices by the Retail Price Index (RPI) + 3.9% in April of each year.

In 2023, Virgin Media increased prices by an average of 13.8% for broadband and TV customers, and while 2024 increases have yet to be confirmed, it's looking like they will be around 9.1%.

Overall, Hyperoptic have fairer contract terms than Virgin Media, with customers promised fixed prices for the duration of their contract.


Broadband packages

Winner: Draw - both Hyperoptic and Virgin Media have their own strengths in terms of package choices, with Hyperoptic offering different contract lengths and Virgin Media offering more optional extras.

Hyperoptic and Virgin Media both offer a selection of broadband packages, with speeds ranging from superfast deals to gigabit-capable connections offering 900Mbps or 1Gbps.

Virgin Media have 18-month contracts across the board, the option to bundle a home phone or mobile deal with Volt, a market-leading WiFi guarantee, and additional TV services.

Hyperoptic instead offer customers a choice of contract length from 1, 12 or 24 months, as well as an optional home phone service and WiFi booster.

Here's how the most popular 100Mb plans look side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
M125 Fibre Broadband 132Mb average £26 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £26 per month + No setup fee (was £35)
Superfast (24 months) 158Mb average £30 £19 24 months

Most households moving to full fibre or ultrafast broadband from part-fibre deals tend to take out packages around 100Mb, which is unsurprisingly why this is also Virgin Media's most popular and competitively priced plan.

There are some variations between these deals from Hyperoptic and Virgin Media.

Hyperoptic has a longer minimum term contract than Virgin Media, although they do offer customers the choice of 12- and 1-month terms as well, although they may cost more.

As we've mentioned, Virgin Media increase prices annually, but Hyperoptic promise no mid-contract price hikes, so the advertised prices are fixed for the duration of the minimum term.

Both providers offer an optional home phone line and calls, but Virgin Media customers also get the benefit of being able to bundle Stream TV or the TV 360 service, which simply isn't available with Hyperoptic.

Hyperoptic and Virgin Media also both offer faster broadband deals, with customers able to choose 500Mb and gigabit-capable speeds too.

Here's how each provider's fastest plans compare side-by-side:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Gig1 Fibre Broadband 1.13Gb average £41 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Reduced price: £41 per month + No setup fee (was £35)
Hyperfast (24 months) 900Mb average £36 £19 24 months

Hyperoptic is cheaper than Virgin Media on the faster plans, so if they're available they could be a better choice for fast broadband, as long as customers wouldn't also benefit from Virgin's TV services.

Virgin Media customers can also save on O2 mobile deals with Volt, and their Gig1 package also includes WiFi Max for free, which is worth £8 per month. In contrast, Hyperoptic's customers would have to pay £7 more per month for Total WiFi, making Hyperfast more expensive than Gig1.

So, while it's a little more complicated, it's worth working out all possible costs before deciding whether Hyperoptic or Virgin Media will work out cheapest.

Read more about Hyperoptic broadband and Virgin Media broadband in our dedicated reviews. We've also got information on Virgin Media Stream and their TV 360 platform.


Call plans

Winner: Draw - it's possible to find low-cost options to add a home phone with Virgin Media, but Hyperoptic's home phone pricing is more consistent.

Hyperoptic and Virgin Media were two of the first providers to start offering broadband without a home phone line, before it became such a popular option.

However, these days, for customers who still want a landline phone service they'll often find they have to pay more for it, and it isn't always the default option when taking broadband.

Here are two popular plans from Hyperoptic and Virgin Media with a home phone line:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Fast 50Mb (24 months) + Evening & Weekend calls 57Mb average £29 £19 24 months
M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter 54Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: No setup fee (was £35)

Customers of either Hyperoptic or Virgin Media have the option of a digital home phone line, with a selection of call plans that can be added. Pricing varies however, with Hyperoptic charging around £2 to £3 more, and Virgin Media's pricing varying even more widely.

Virgin Media M50 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter is the cheapest way to get a home phone line with the provider, however, M250 Volt Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter is only slightly more and offers better value for money with a faster broadband deal.

Other Virgin Media plans cost considerably more to add a phone line, such as M125 Fibre Broadband + Weekend chatter, which costs £7.50 extra compared to the broadband-only plan.

Both provider's home phone deals come with some free calls, but customers can also add one of the following call plans to their package:

Hyperoptic Virgin Media
Evening & weekend calls Included £5/mth
Anytime calls £3/mth £10/mth

It's worth noting that Hyperoptic don't include UK mobiles in their inclusive call allowance, but Virgin Media does. Hyperoptic customers can get a 50% discount on UK mobile calls for an extra £3 per month but there is no fully inclusive option.

Overall, customers will want to use our comparison tool to find the cheapest Virgin Media or Hyperoptic broadband plan with a home phone line.


Broadband speed

Winner: Virgin Media offer a faster average download speed at peak time on their Gig1 plan compared to Hyperoptic's fastest package, although Hyperoptic have faster uploads.

Virgin Media offer faster average download speeds on their packages compared to Hyperoptic, including up to 1130Mbps with their fastest Gig1 plan.

However, Hyperoptic offer symmetrical upload speeds, which means uploads are as fast as downloads, while Virgin Media's upload speeds are asymmetrical and therefore slower. So, that's also worth bearing in mind.

Here's how their average download and upload speeds look side-by-side:

Package Download speed Upload speed
Virgin Media M50 54Mb 5Mb
Hyperoptic Fast 50Mb 57Mb 5.7Mb
Virgin Media M125 132Mb 20Mb
Hyperoptic Superfast 158Mb 158Mb
Virgin Media M250 264Mb 25Mb
Virgin Media M350 362Mb 36Mb
Virgin Media M500 516Mb 52Mb
Hyperoptic Ultrafast 522Mb 528Mb
Hyperoptic Hyperfast 900Mb 900Mb
Virgin Media Gig1 1130Mb 104Mb

Hyperoptic and Virgin Media both operate their own independent fibre networks, which means they aren't reliant on any other company to deliver their service to customers.

However, it also means they use different technologies, which is what causes variations in their speeds. Hyperoptic offers a fibre to the building or fibre to the home installation, while Virgin Media is currently in the process of upgrading its entire network from fibre to the street with a coaxial cable last mile, to full fibre to the home.

Virgin Media are also known to upgrade the speed for existing customers, including boosting uploads on their fastest plans in May 2023, and boosting the download and upload speeds of their entry-level deals in October 2022.

More recently, Virgin Media has also announced a 2Gbps package, as well as the ability to upgrade upload speeds to symmetrical, although these options are only available in select locations so far.

Minimum speed guarantees

While only Virgin Media has signed up to Ofcom's code of practice on broadband speeds, both providers offer customers a minimum speed guarantee.

This guarantee promises that if customers don't receive the minimum speed for 3 consecutive days, and the provider can't resolve the issue within 30 days of being notified, the customer will be free to exit their contract without penalty.

It's effectively a service guarantee so customers have the reassurance their broadband will deliver a certain minimum download speed, or they'll be able to switch away.

Here are the minimum guaranteed download speeds for each Hyperoptic and Virgin Media broadband plan:

Package Minimum guaranteed download speed Average download speed
Virgin Media M50 27Mb 54Mb
Hyperoptic Fast 50Mb 50Mb 57Mb
Virgin Media M125 66Mb 132Mb
Hyperoptic Superfast 150Mb 158Mb
Virgin Media M250 132Mb 264Mb
Virgin Media M350 181Mb 362Mb
Virgin Media M500 258Mb 516Mb
Hyperoptic Ultrafast 500Mb 522Mb
Virgin Media Gig1 565Mb 1130Mb
Hyperoptic Hyperfast 900Mb 900Mb

It's noticeable that Hyperoptic promise faster minimum speeds in comparison to Virgin Media, yet it's important to remember these are minimums and most customers will receive the average advertised speeds.

In fact, average advertised speeds must be received by at least 50% of a provider's customer base during the peak hours of 8pm to 10pm when the network is busiest, so they are a reliable measure.

Reliability

Speed and reliability are intrinsically connected, with the technology used to deliver broadband from Hyperoptic and Virgin Media affecting how reliable it can be.

Hyperoptic's fibre to the building (FTTB) approach brings a fibre optic cable closer to a customer's home than Virgin Media's existing coaxial cable last mile.

Cable is a slightly less reliable technology, resulting in higher latency (the amount of time it takes requests to be actioned) and disconnections, yet these are still much less of a problem than we used to have with copper-based technologies.

Both Hyperoptic and Virgin Media are moving to full fibre to the home connections, with Virgin Media due to upgrade their entire existing network by 2028. However, in terms of reliability - Hyperoptic is possibly the better choice for now.


Router

Winner: Virgin Media's latest Hub 5 and Hub 5x offer WiFi 6 connectivity, more up to date security, and a faster wired LAN port compared to Hyperoptic's Hyperhub.

Both Hyperoptic and Virgin Media offer different routers to customers, although it isn't immediately clear in the case of Hyperoptic which router is supplied with which package.

Hyperoptic supply routers manufactured by ZTE and Nokia, with the routers optimised to handle the speeds a customer has chosen.

Meanwhile, customers taking most of Virgin Media's broadband packages will receive either the Hub 3 or Hub 4. Both are good routers that have been updated over the years with improved technology for a smoother experience.

Customers taking Gig1 from Virgin Media, however, will receive their latest Hub 5. It's one of the top routers available from a broadband provider, although it's no longer the best, with faster WiFi 6E technology and tri-band routers over-taking it slightly.

Here's a quick comparison of Hyperoptic's Nokia router and the Hubs offered by Virgin Media:

Hyperoptic Hyperhub Virgin Hub 5 Virgin Hub 4 & 3
WiFi protocol 5 (802.11ac) 6 (802.11ax) 5 (802.11ac)
WiFi band Dual-band Dual-band Dual-band
Security WPA2 WPA3 WPA2
Antennae 4 7 5
Ethernet LAN ports 4 x 1Gbps 1 x 2.5Gbps
3 x 1Gbps
4 x 1Gbps
Intelligent Mesh Yes Yes Yes

Virgin Media's Hub 5 utilises the latest WiFi 6 and WPA3 security protocols, putting it slightly ahead of the Hyperhub, which only supports up to WiFi 5 and WPA2 encryption.

That said, the hubs offered by Hyperoptic are high quality, with four internal antennae and the option of support for mesh boosters.

Overall, customers choosing Virgin Media Gig1 will get a more up to date router, however those on any other packages will receive a pretty comparable router to Hyperoptic's Hyperhub so there isn't too much in it.


WiFi guarantee

Winner: Virgin Media promise minimum download speeds of 30Mbps in every room, while Hyperoptic's Total WiFi comes without a guarantee.

Virgin Media's WiFi Max is one of the best whole home WiFi guarantees in the market and is offered for free with Gig1 and Volt plans, or costs £8 per month extra on any other package.

They now promise a minimum download speed of 30Mbps in every room with up to 3 WiFi Pods provided. If customer's fail to achieve these minimum speeds across their home they can claim a £100 bill credit.

It's also extremely flexible, with customers able to cancel the add-on with just 30 days' notice whether it works for them or not.

Hyperoptic also offer a Total WiFi add-on, however it isn't a comprehensive guarantee like Virgin Media's WiFi Max.

Total WiFi costs £7 per month and provides just one mesh extender to help boost wireless signals around a home. It's ideally suited to smaller homes or flats where only one WiFi booster is likely to be needed.

It also comes with a minimum contract period that runs in conjunction with the broadband package, so a customer adding the service later on may have to sign up to a new minimum term.

Overall, Virgin Media is an easy winner in this category, offering a superior whole home WiFi service that's actually included free on many of their packages.


Customer service

Winner: Hyperoptic have a stronger reputation for good customer service, while Virgin Media collects more complaints.

Virgin Media are the third largest broadband provider in the UK, with around 5.8 million customers, so it's no surprise that they accumulate some complaints.

In comparison, Hyperoptic have a much smaller market share of around just 1.2% compared to Virgin Media's share of 20%. This means Hyperoptic don't feature in Ofcom's research on customer service or quarterly complaints data, while Virgin Media does.

For this reason, it's difficult to compare Hyperoptic and Virgin Media for customer service as the data available is not consistent.

That said, we do know Hyperoptic have a good rating on Trustpilot, with an Excellent score of 4.5 from over 24,000 reviews. Virgin Media fair much worse, with a Bad rating of 1.7 out of 5 from over 87,000 reviews.

Looking at Ofcom's independent data, Virgin Media generally come just above average for complaints:

Virgin's complaints levels improved after a peak in 2021, generally performing better than Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Shell Energy Broadband. However, the latest complaints figures for Q3 2023 saw them peak again as a result of Ofcom's investigation with their complaints handling.

Ofcom research into customer service however has also shown 81% of Virgin Media customers are satisfied with their service, which is in line with the industry average, and 82% are satisfied with the speed of their service, slightly better than the average.

Overall, while Hyperoptic are a much smaller provider and there is less data available, they have the edge on Virgin Media for service reputation.


Verdict: Hyperoptic or Virgin Media?

Overall winner: Hyperoptic are cheaper than Virgin Media and will appeal to those preferring a smaller company, however Virgin Media have the edge on services.

Hyperoptic offer a number of advantages over Virgin Media for broadband, not least their cheaper and more consistent pricing, with a promise of no mid-contract price hikes.

As a smaller company they also have a better reputation for offering good customer service, and their fibre to the building network offers symmetrical upload speeds and a more reliable connection.

Virgin Media on the other hand have much more package options available, with the ability to save money across bundled mobile and TV plans, as well as extra services like a more comprehensive whole home WiFi guarantee.

Virgin are also in the process of upgrading their entire existing cable network to full fibre to the home, and have already shown their commitment to offer symmetrical uploads, as well as multi-gig plans to customers on full fibre.

Hyperoptic offer a better choice for:

  • Cheaper prices, especially for entry-level plans
  • Easier to understand pricing, with more straightforward fees for adding a home phone line
  • No mid-contract price rises
  • Symmetrical upload speeds across faster plans
  • Good levels of customer service in online reviews

Virgin Media however, also perform well for:

  • Faster average download speeds on their gigabit plan
  • A better whole home WiFi guarantee, that's also free with Gig1 and Volt
  • More up to date router for those on Gig1 broadband
  • Options to save money on bundles with mobile and TV

Overall, where customers have availability for both providers individual requirements are likely to determine whether Hyperoptic or Virgin Media is the better provider, and hopefully this guide has revealed each provider's strengths.

Read more in our in-depth review to Hyperoptic broadband and Virgin Media broadband, or compare deals here.

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