This is the third time abroad and my mobile is still not working abroad. Turned on roaming. Turned off international barring. Phoned virgin to confim everything set up ok. Checked phone works in Canada. Still can not get a service. Virgins solution is to phone a number. Very funny how do I do that from a mobile with no service and no other phone. There are plenty of web pages with tales of the same problem, but no solution from virgin. Anyone have any fix to this problem?
Thank you for coming in and posting your message, I hope that you are enjoying your holiday.
There was an issue regarding roaming but this something that should have been resolved now. I can see that this has been about a week now since you last posted. Can you let me know if this is still happening?
Yes it did fix the problem. Could you please publish the problem so that people like me can ask tech support to check for the problem. Otherwise all they will do is go through their automated Q&A system getting us to switch the phone off and on again etc.
Could you also explain how to get web chat to work abroad. I lost count of the number of times that virgin suggested calling a phone number from a phone that was unable to make phone calls.
Now I am back in the UK, I will write up a fuller report of what I tried and what was needed to successfully achieve a phone service abroad. Hopefully it will aid other Virgin customers and provide a basis for Virgin to improve their service (if they are willing to do so).
OK, I will start from the beginning. On two prior trips abroad my Virgin Mobile phone failed to get a service and I was left with the message "Emergency calls only" on the lock screen. Between these visits I had my phone upgraded and the SIM changed (phone needed a smaller format). So before I went on my trip to Canada I phoned 789 to talk to the service team. They confirmed that my account had been set (via the Virgin Mobile web site) with roaming enabled and international call barring off. They also confirmed that the settings at their end were correct and that the phone should work. They also said that if it did not work that I should phone a number in the UK and that the service team could diagnose the problem. They also seemed unphased by the fact that I would have no other form of phone other than the non-functioning mobile. I assumed that this was just a result of a tired operator.
On arrival in Canada the phone could not connect to a service. I checked my settings on the website (WiFi was working) and they were still correct. I then searched the internet and tried all the suggestion there. These included:
Turn it of and back on again (classic!)
Remove the SIM and reinsert it
Try to connect to specific services
I then remembered that I had paid extra for Mobile Rescue. The only problem with that is that it was not a 24 hour service and as there was an 7-8 hour time difference between Canada and the UK that meant contacting them at 2am or first thing in the morning, local time to catch them. The guy at the other end was very helpful. He used an app to remote connect to my phone, where he checked all the settings and tried all the things I had tried before. After an hour he concluded that there was either something wrong with the settings at the Virgin end or there was a problem with my SIM not switching to roaming mode. He again suggested that I use my mobile to phone the Virgin Mobile service team. Again I pointed out that that would not work with a mobile that could not connect to a service provider.
Someone on this forum suggested that I contact Virgin using the WebChat facility. There were a couple of problems with this:
WebChat is not available on the mobile web pages. You have to switch to desktop version. This makes the text really small and hitting link almost impossible. Then I found you could zoom the web pages. loads of scrolling was then needed to navigate around the pages.
WebChat is not a 24 hour service and only works during UK office hours.
Even during UK office hours WebChat does not work and tells you that you are trying to use it at the wrong hour. Even changing the phone's time did not work. I assume it was picking up local time from the internet.
So there I was stuck abroad with no phone and no way of contacting Virgin.
A day later I had a bright idea. I Skyped my son in the UK, gave him my passcode and got him to contact Virgin from the UK. After going through the usual "Turn it off and on again" suggestions she said that she would get a service engineer to contact me on my mobile to sort out the problem. Again another Virgin person who had to be told that a mobile that does not work can not make or receive calls!!! Again there was a few seconds of silence followed by "I get them to email". 24 hours later and I had received nothing. So my son contacted them again. The service engineer said "I have changed a setting. It should work now. Just turn it off and on again.". Bingo it worked.
So in conclusion:
Don't trust Virgin when they say your phone should work abroad. They have no way of telling for sure and they are only guessing based on a couple of setting that you yourself can set up.
This is not an isolated problem. Just Google it and you will have hours of reading ahead of you.
The only way to contact Virgin abroad (if you have only your own mobile or you do not want to run up a large international phone call listening to lift music) is to have someone in the UK who you trust enough to give your passcode to, and then use another company's communications app to talk to them.
So what can Virgin do?
Get WebChat working abroad
Their help desks have an automated Q&A system to help diagnose the problem. It is very limited and only serves to make you believe that you are talking to someone who is trained, when in fact you are talking to someone with limited training and a crude menu driven software system that sets the questions for the customer. It can not cope with a customer with a technical background and grasp of using Google that has already tried out the obvious suggestions. The first question that Virgin's menu system should ask the customer is "Do you know more about this tech stuff that me?".
There is a setting that sorts out the problem. Some advanced service engineer at Virgin knows what it is. However the phone help people, some people in the service department and virgin people like Ben on this forum are unaware of it. Virgin should make sure that the setup of the value should be automatic. They should also train their staff so that they are aware of it and how to get a service engineer to rectify the problem.
Virgin should train their staff that mobile phones that cannot connect to a service provider cannot use that phone to make and receive calls.
I hope that Virgin uses this as a leaning experience and improves their system and that Virgin customers now know that there is a solution if you know who to talk to and how to communicate with them.
Thank you for taking the time to post about your experience with your mobile roaming issue when travelling out of the UK. I'm sorry that you had difficulties getting your mobile to connect to a network while in Canada.
There is no advanced setting to fix a roaming issue--roaming is either off or on the customer's account and we can only switch the setting from one to the other. APN settings on the handset device could affect roaming and this is noted on the above post with a provided link to various devices so that this can be checked.
I will certainly pass on your feedback of your experience so that these issues can be addressed.
Need help changing SIM card? Find out more about activating your 4G ready SIM. 4G SIM Swap Help