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Virgin just broke my roaming - no incoming calls or texts can be received

Joining in

Following a botched attempt at migrating me to O2's network 2 days ago, I'm no longer getting any incoming calls or text messages including OTP security codes from eBay, PayPal etc. Only texts from Virgin are being received. So far Virgin have not resolved this.

This is the latest in a long list of failures from Virgin:

1. 3 days in July where OTP passcode text messages couldn't be received due to a Virgin Mobile network fault, so I was frozen out of my accounts requiring these essential security codes and couldn't make any transactions. This affected many Virgin Mobile customers - it took them 3 days to fix. Virgin clearly don't care about how critical these codes are to allow people to log on to accounts, make purchases etc, otherwise they would have redundant backup systems in place to ensure that any loss of service was fixed within hours, not days.

2. Virgin sent me an email dated 15 August saying "If you’re abroad on the day of your planned switch, it’ll still happen – but not automatically. Instead, we’ll send you a sim to your registered UK home address a few days after your switchover date on 20th August 2023." However, no SIM was sent.

3. I received an email from O2 advising posting of a "POS:O2 5G Postpay SIM: compatible with 5G Devices ONLY" - the SIM won't work as my phone is 2G / 3G / 4G only.

4. I just received a text from Virgin Mobile saying they need to send a SIM in the post and I "may have issues receiving calls/texts during this time, so we recommend using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger apps." However, does WhatsApp support receiving OTP passcode messages? My understanding is that eBay, PayPal etc send these messages as normal text messages, not via WhatsApp.

When I joined Virgin I never signed up to all this disruption, work, wasted time, inconvenience and expense arising from Virgin breaking my service in connection with their wish to simply rebrand their network from Virgin to O2, when it's the same network anyway. I now face hours of work trying to regain access to my online accounts without OTP text messages, and additional consequential loss and expense from being unable to use them in the meantime. I'm sure that neither contract law nor the UK regulators allow this much disruption and expense for customers.

Virgin don't seem to realize how much disruption their negligent and reckless actions have caused. So far they haven't come up with a reasonable solution. I think they could easily revert their network (SMSC/HLR/VLR etc) settings to the ones that worked previously, but instead they're claiming that isn't possible.

A Virgin member of staff is now trying to assist further - I'll provide an update on whether they resolve this.


Joining in

Virgin completely failed to resolve this. The loss of service caused considerable inconvenience and was a breach of contract on their part as it was within their control, so I'm now claiming compensation. Here are some of their numerous failings:

1. Their email said loss of service would occur on 25th September, however the loss of incoming calls and texts happened without warning on 20th September. They had not sent any replacement SIM at this point so I had no ability to restore service myself.

2. Virgin previously said via email that they would send me a new SIM in August, but they never sent it.

3. Virgin ordered a new SIM from O2 but O2's email said the SIM being sent was a "POS:O2 5G Postpay SIM: compatible with 5G Devices ONLY", so not compatible with my 2G / 3G / 4G only phone. Furthermore, this SIM was only sent on 21st September, after I'd lost service. Ridiculous.

4. Virgin then sent another email on 27th September saying I would be moving to O2 "on or after 26th October 2023", after previously stating I'd already moved to O2. I'd already lost incoming calls and texts on 20th September.

I'm guessing others have had similar appalling experiences while roaming. Anyway as a result I've now binned Virgin/O2 and moved my number to a VMN provider - I can use it anywhere via their app on my handset, either over wi-fi or mobile data from any other provider. This works for me and removes any roaming issues going forwards.