Twitter is Now Completely Unlimited for Virgin Mobile Users

Jack Dorsey and Richard Branson, bizarre present and past mascots for entrepreneurism? Polar opposites? Yin and yang? Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis in Looper? I'll stop now. However they relate, they've formed an indirect partnership in bringing unlimited free use of Twitter to all Virgin Mobile users, they'll never have to use so much as a bite of data on another tweet. #RaiseTheRoof

This means that every option available on Twitter, up to and including images and videos, will cost zero data. In fact, the only exception is live-streaming. If you're on a lower end data tariff and your also an avid, or even marginal Twitter user, this is a pretty big deal. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are already available data free, but those are strictly messaging services, whereas Twitter is the whole package.

Virgin have been courting heavy data users for a while. When they first made WhatsApp data free, they introduced a 4G tariff which started at £6 a month. To some, the low starting rate was a penance for introducing 4G rates so late in the game (last November), it's one of the lowest, if not the lowest 4G rate available in the UK. You only get 300MB, but with Twitter now struck from the list as well, that might be enough for users with a narrow list of platform activities.

Of course, with WhatsApp, it stops being free the moment you run out of your monthly data allowance, owing to net neutrality regulations. It's unclear whether or not this will also be applicable to Twitter, but if it is, the cheaper tariffs aren't quite as attractive as they might have otherwise been.

What's worth remembering though is that Virgin are the first service providers to do this. Other networks offer certain things data free, but not social media. In particular, some Three contracts offer data-free streaming of Netflix, as well as Deezer and Soundcloud. In that case, Three were aiming more for services that munch up lots of data very quickly, whilst Virgin have aimed at things which people are likely to use more regularly.

The trouble with social media data usage is that it varies so wildly from person to person. Twitter is probably the easiest to chart, but unlimited allowance to, say, Facebook, would be a nightmare to orchestrate, ditto Snapchat. That being said, Virgin are setting an example here, and it probably won't be long before other network providers either follow it, or turn this into a game of oneupmanship.

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