Virgin is confident that it has enough mobile phones available for the service it launched today, to cope with the Christmas rush.
"We have 300,000 phones ready for Christmas, and 95 per cent of those have arrived, so we think we'll manage," Richard Branson said at the launch of Virgin Mobile today.
"We don't forsee any of the disasters some mobile phone suppliers suffered last summer."
Virgin is looking to sell a million phones in the first 15 months from launch, Branson said.
Virgin Mobile is selling itself as a "no catches, no line-rental, no rip-off" service, claiming that UK mobile phone users could save more than a third on their calls by switching to the Virgin service.
Virgin Mobile, which is a 50/50 joint venture with One 2 One, isn't charging monthly fees or ongoing charges, it isn't running voucher schemes with limited time periods, or offering subsidised phones. Instead it is charging for the phones which range in price from £79.99 to £379.99 for a top-of-the-range model. Phones will be sold via Virgin Megastores and Virgin Our Price outlets as well as over the Internet and direct via phone.
Calls are charged on a flat rate fee, depending on how much the service is used. It's 15 pence for the first ten minutes each day, 10 pence for the next ten, and five pence flat rate after that. Calls to other mobile networks are charged at a flat rate of 35 pence a minute. Customers can pay as they go via vouchers or credit cards, or opt for a direct debit scheme.
All the Virgin phones will come with a service called Virgin Xtras, which will give customers direct access to shopping, leisure and music over their mobiles. At the press of a button consumers will get discounts on Virgin products as well as a special discount rate on the RAC's Red breakdown service.
Virgin confirmed it will be added other Virgin and non-Virgin services in the near future.
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