As a result of the partnership, Virgin Media customers will see their inbox storage limits increased to 7GB and the opportunity to get up to 10 @virginmedia.com email addresses. Users will also benefit from features found in Gmail including the ability to organise emails by thread and IM (instant messaging) conversations.

The ISP said the new webmail service will initially be available to the first 20,000 customers that sign up to trial the service and and then rolled-out across its whole network "shortly after".

Existing customers who have @blueyonder.co.uk, @ntlworld.com or @virgin.net email addresses, will also be given the choice to keep their existing email addresses or move to an @virgnmedia.com address.

"We're committed to providing the very best online experience to our customers. We look forward to exploring future services with Google," said Alex Green, Virgin Media's executive director of online.