Virgin Media is said to be mulling plans to launch its own Wi-Fi network, one which could have some serious implications for its rivals as well as for its 4.1 million customers.
Virgin Media does not have free Wi-Fi bundled with its offer; this is due to the fact that Virgin Mobile is merely a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), that uses T-Mobile as backend provider and the latter, which is now part of Everything Everywhere, doesn't currently have free Wi-Fi. In comparison, O2, Vodafone and Orange already offer free Wi-Fi across the country through partners like The Cloud or BT.
Having an extensive Wi-Fi network also means that Virgin Media will make better use of any extra capacity. The fact that its backbone is made up entirely of fiber optic means that Virgin Media has more upgrade potential and is more futureproof than BT (which provides the backend infrastructure for all of the ISPs that sell ASDL). Indeed, although it does have traffic management, Virgin Media is one of the few remaining ISPs that do not have ANY sort of monthly data allowance.
The upside with deploying a public Wi-Fi system is that it is one off investment (mainly in the routers and management platform) with minimal maintenance costs, something that will pay off handsomely should Virgin Media decide one day to plunge into wholesale and offer both cable and Wi-Fi to resellers.
Existing customers are always glad to receive something for nothing and providing free Wi-Fi to them may reduce the customer churn rate. In addtion, it may lure more customers to Virgin Media and encourage new and existing customers to buy broadband bundles (cable & mobile with free Wi-Fi).