Virgin Mobile Is Shutting Down

Virgin Mobile Credit: TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock
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Sprint announced that it will be killing off Virgin Mobile early next month as part of its impending merger with T-Mobile.

The prepaid mobile brand will be shutting down on Feb. 2 and existing customers will be transferred over to Boost Mobile, Sprint said in an announcement this week.

Per the Justice Department’s approval of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger, the latter carrier was required to sell off its prepaid brands.

A Sprint spokesperson told FierceWireless that those customers will be able to keep their old phone number and device and will pay the same price. They’ll even technically still be on Sprint’s network as Boost customers.

On the other hand, Boost Mobile said it won’t be supporting PayPal accounts or 45/90 Day Top Up payment options. So customers may need to tweak the way they pay for their mobile service.

But while Virgin Mobile will cease to exist in its current form (though its British counterpart will remain unchanged), this may not be the last time we hear the “Virgin” brand name in the U.S. wireless industry.

The Virgin Group, a British multinational venture capital firm founded by Sir Richard Branson, has expressed interest in reacquiring the rights to the Virgin Mobile brand name after the transfer. A Virgin Group spokesperson added that they are considering working on options to relaunch a “modern mobile offer” in the U.S.

That probably won’t happen right away, however. A Virgin representative told The Verge that the company will need to “spend some time assessing the U.S. mobile market opportunity to start talking to interested parties about potential partnerships in due course.”

By that time, of course, Virgin’s existing customer base will have been transferred to Boost.

Boost, of course, is also owned by Sprint. But the prepaid carrier is currently in the middle of being sold to Dish, per the DoJ stipulations. The move, while not altogether surprising, seems like a way for Sprint to simplify its prepaid brands for the impending sale.

As we’ve noted before, the Sprint and T-Mobile merger will actually result in Dish becoming the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., filling the vacancy left by Sprint itself.

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