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Virgin cuts broadband to a fiver

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Virgin is to cut its wireless offering to a fiver a month for broadband customers who want to go wireless, but O2 reckons ten per cent of wireless broadband users feel mis-sold anyway, and reckons only they can guarantee happiness.

Clearly stung by our assertion that Virgin Mobile Broadband was a rather lacklustre offering compared to its carrying network T-Mobile, the company has dropped the cost of wireless broadband to a fiver a month for punters getting Virgin at home. If you're already getting Virgin broadband on the "XL" or "L" package then you can add wireless for only a fiver a month. Other customers will have to stump up a tenner for the same 1GB service.

But O2 has released research that one in ten mobile broadband users claim they were missold their connection, with 20 per cent not getting the expected coverage, 13 per cent wanting a better returns policy and half of them wanting Wi-Fi hotspot access bundled.

One can't help wondering if O2's research was slightly slanted, seeing as it does offer bundled Wi-Fi and has just launched a better coverage-checker, and its "Happiness Guarantee" allows buyers to cancel a connection within 50 days. O2 is also going to switch off international data-roaming by default from now on, so customers will have to request the ability to run up massive bills downloading movies while abroad.

But accurate coverage checking can only be a good thing, and money-back guarantees equally so, as coverage checking isn't an exact science. Bundled access to Wi-Fi hotspots should be irrelevant, if the 3G coverage is good enough, but having spent so much money putting hotspots in place operators like O2 have to extract some value from them. ®

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