25/06/2012 14:20 | By Verity Burns, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets

Virgin Mobile launches all-you-can eat data tariff

New tariff offers unlimited data from £21 a month.

Virgin Mobile (© Virgin Mobile)

Virgin Mobile has announced its first unlimited data tariff, offering all-you-can-eat mobile data for a monthly price starting from £21.

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Three and T-Mobile, the tariff will be free from fair use policy small print, so internet fiends can browse and stream music and video online without having to worry about where the nearest hotspot is.

As with most Virgin services, you'll get the best deal if you're an existing broadband, phone or TV customer, knocking a fiver off the price available for non-customers.

This means that while the 'Premiere' tariff, complete with 2,500 minutes and unlimited data, texts and calls to UK landlines, starts at £26 a month to new customers (over a 24 month contract), a Virgin customer can get it from just £21.

Not just that, Virgin customers will also get phone insurance included in the price of their contract, offering 24-hour guaranteed handset replacement in the UK if it goes missing or is stolen.

As for those not wanting to get tied down to a contract, the company has also launched a new range of SIM only deals, offering a one month rolling contract with the same Premiere allowances from £25 for non-Virgin customers (£20 for Virgin customers).

Ernest Doku from USwitch.com commented on the new tariff, saying: "Minutes and texts used to be the Holy Grail, but the explosion of the smartphone market means that consumers now need data - and lots of it. This is where the networks are battling it out and, by launching this plan, Virgin has thrown down the gauntlet.

"The Premiere Plan will enable customers to unleash the full potential of their smartphones without the fear of running up extortionate bills."

However, he did offer a word of warning, adding: "Consumers should still be savvy about how they spend their money. If you're not constantly surfing the web on your mobile, or chatting away, you may not need unlimited data or thousands of minutes.. The most important thing to do is to check how you use your mobile and make sure you get the best priced plan for your needs."

Do you think more networks should offer unlimited data tariffs? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.