|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Virgin Mobile is a wireless communications brand used by eight independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Mobile branded wireless communications services are currently available in Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Virgin Mobile branded services were formerly offered in Singapore and Qatar.
Each Virgin Mobile branded entity acts independently from the others, thus the handsets, service plans and network radio interfaces vary from country to country. In a given country, the Virgin Mobile wireless entity is typically a partnership between Richard Branson's Virgin Group and an existing mobile network operator or mobile virtual network operator.
- 1 History
- 2 Current brand licensees
- 3 Former brand licensees
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Current brand licensees
Virgin Mobile Australia
Virgin Mobile Australia (VMA) is a telecommunications company based in Sydney, Australia. They sell through over 3500 retail outlets, including flagship stores in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as via telesales and web-based stores.
In Australia, Virgin Mobile operates on the Optus network.
Virgin Mobile Canada
Virgin Mobile Canada experienced substantial growth in 2008, launching approximately 60 'Virgin Mini Stores' (VMS) across the country. VMS are kiosks usually located in shopping malls that especially target the 18–35 year old demographic. For four years running, Virgin Mobile Canada has received J.D. Power and Associates' annual award for Highest Customer Satisfaction for Prepaid Wireless. Post-paid plans were introduced to Virgin Canada in February 2008.
Bell Mobility acquired Virgin Mobile Canada in May 2009 for CAN$142 million. Since early 2010, Virgin Mobile Canada launched the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 post-paid service in Virgin Mobile Retail Stores and online, all around Canada. Virgin Mobile became the fifth brand offering the iPhone in Canada, after Fido, Rogers Wireless, Telus and Bell Mobility.
Virgin Mobile France
Virgin Mobile France is the French division of Virgin Mobile. It is a mobile virtual network operator, and a subsidiary of Virgin Group.
Launched in France on 3 April 2006, Virgin Mobile is the fifth mobile operator on the French market, and the first MVNO by number of subscribers, with over 2 million customers. Chaired by Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, Virgin Mobile is commercialized by OMEA TELECOM, a joint venture between Virgin Group and Carphone Warehouse.
It is known to be the first operator to have launched a plan with unlimited SMS in France.
Virgin Mobile India
On 1 March 2011, Virgin launched the Mobile brand in India through a franchise arrangement with NTT DoCoMo. This is Virgin’s seventh launch globally and its largest. However on 29 March 2008, the Department of Telecom (DoT) cleared the deal after clarification from Tata Teleservices indicated that Virgin had not entered India as an MVNO.
Virgin Mobile Poland
Virgin Mobile Poland is a mobile phone service provider operating in the Poland. The company launched in 2012. Being a virtual operator, Virgin Mobile does not maintain its own network, and instead has contracts to use the existing network of PLAY.
Virgin Mobile South Africa
Virgin Mobile South Africa (VMSA) is a joint-venture between Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Cell C. Virgin Mobile South Africa launched in 2006. In February 2011 it was reported that Cell C's 50% stake in Virgin Mobile is to be sold to Virgin Group of the UK and Calico Investments of the Bahamas.
Virgin Mobile UK
Virgin Mobile UK is a mobile phone service provider operating in the United Kingdom. The company was the world's first Mobile Virtual Network Operator, launched in 1999. Being a virtual operator, Virgin Mobile does not maintain its own network, and instead has contracts to use the existing network of Everything Everywhere. Virgin Mobile was bought by NTL:Telewest on 4 April 2006 before joining the quadplay of Virgin Media services when NTL:Telewest rebranded into Virgin Media on 9 February 2007, with a new logo in-line with Virgin Media.
Initially, Virgin Mobile in the UK used the network coverage of Mobile Operator T-Mobile and have been doing so since their establishment, however, following the merger of T-Mobile and Orange UK to form the brand "Everything Everywhere" in Britain, customers could begin to take advantage of Orange's broadcasting signals in addition to those of T-Mobile from Autumn 2011. The networks have since merged to become the EE network.
Virgin Mobile USA
Virgin Mobile USA, L.P. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint Corporation that provides nationwide, prepaid, wireless voice, messaging and broadband data products and services to customers in the continental United States under the Virgin Mobile, "payLo by Virgin Mobile" and "Assurance Wireless Brought to You by Virgin Mobile" brands. Founded in 2001 as a joint venture between Virgin Group, Singapore Telecommunications Limited and Sprint Corporation, Virgin Mobile USA commenced operations in June, 2002 as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) providing services via the nationwide Sprint 1900 MHz PCS, CDMA, digital network.
Virgin Mobile USA provides services to customers via the Sprint 1900 MHz PCS CDMA digital and LTE, and 2500 MHz WiMAX networks. Virgin Mobile branded handsets and broadband access devices are available online and at more than 40,000 retail partner locations including Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, Walmart and independent dealers nationwide. Virgin Mobile branded "top-up" cards are available online and in 150,000 retail locations nationwide.
In 2008, Virgin Mobile USA acquired post-paid services provider Helio, Inc. In 2009, Sprint Nextel Corporation bought out joint venture partners Virgin Group and SingTel, becoming the sole owner of Virgin Mobile USA.
Virgin Mobile Latin America
Virgin Mobile Chile
Virgin Mobile Latin America (VMLA) launched operations in Chile in April 2012, having received regulatory approval from Chile’s telecommunications regulator as well as signing an agreement with Movistar, one of the country’s leading mobile network operators. VMLA announced in June of this year its plan to become Latin America’s leading mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Since then, the company has made significant progress towards its goal of beginning commercial operations in many countries. Chile will be its first commercial operation in early 2012. Richard Branson commented: "We are excited to have made such good progress towards launching our first mobile business in Latin America in Chile."This is an exciting project for Virgin and we believe Virgin Mobile Chile customers will be delighted by the services we will be offering them at launch." “We are very appreciative of Subtel’s (Chile’s Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones) prompt approval of our application," said VMLA’s chairman Phil Wallace. VMLA has been approved to operate in Mexico
Virgin Mobile Colombia
Colombia was the second South American country that receives the Virgin Mobile network. It launched officially plans and services on April 3, 2013, working with Movistar's electromagnetic frecuency. The high rate of active mobile lines in Colombia makes this country a good place to set telecom and networks operations. Virgin Mobile took advantage of the 4G spectrum auction in Colombia in June 2013 for release more data services with the fastest mobile speed in the world.
Virgin Mobile Latin America's next business-venture initiative, continues with Virgin Mobile Brazil and Virgin Mobile Mexico.
Former brand licensees
Virgin Mobile Qatar
Virgin Mobile Qatar was a brand licensing partnership agreement between Virgin Group and Qatar Telecom (as Qtel Group). The new brand was launched 13 May 2010 over the network of Qatar Telecom (Qtel). Virgin claims to be Qatar’s first youth-oriented mobile brand, and offers pre-paid-only, simplified all-day tariff plans (with no distinction between peak and off-peak), with a 180-day airtime validity — which it says is the longest available in the country. Local calls are charged at QAR0.55 (USD0.15) per minute for the first five minutes used in each day, and QAR0.30 per minute after that, whilst mobile internet access costs QAR1 per 1MB. Richard Branson, chairman of UK-based Virgin Group, said: "Virgin Mobile [has] more than 15 million customers around the world ... I am proud to have partnered with Qtel to make Virgin Mobile Qatar our first mobile launch in the Middle East." The service is the eighth Virgin Mobile branded operation in the world, following on from launches in the UK, Australia, the US, Canada, France, South Africa and India. Branson added that Virgin Group is mulling further partnerships with Qtel, which has a group presence in 17 countries.
Virgin Mobile Qatar was being widely mistaken to be the third-mobile network operator (MNO) in Qatar, in the form of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), essentially a brand as reseller. It has been confirmed by the Qtel and ictQatar, the local telecommunications authority reiterating that its only a branding agreement.
This service has since closed due to a dispute with Vodafone. Customers will have ample opportunity to obtain their replacement SIM cards or seek a refund. Qtel will communicate full details of the migration programme and customer refund options to all of their QVMS customers and provide them with reminders before finally de-activating any remaining active Virgin Mobile branded SIM cards between the 1 and 3 August 2011.
Virgin Mobile Singapore
Virgin Singapore was launched in October 2001 as a joint venture with Singtel. The operations were closed down by October 2002 after failing to attract a significant number of customers.
Failure of the joint venture was attributed to a saturated mobile market and Virgin Mobile's positioning as a "premium" brand.
- "Optus Acquires Virgin Mobile Australia". EFYTimes. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- Virgin Mobile at comparecellular.com
- "Bell Mobility acquires full ownership of Virgin Mobile Canada". Bell Mobility. 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "Wireless Canada: Virgin Mobile". Wireless Canada. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- "COAI questions Virgin's 'backdoor' entry, seeks clear policy". The Economic Times. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
- "DoT clears NTT-DOCOMO deal". The Economic Times. 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2008-03-30.
- "Sprint Nextel To Acquire Virgin Mobile USA". virginmobileusa.com. Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. 2009-07-28. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Nickinson, Phil (2009-07-28). "Sprint purchases Virgin Mobile USA". WMExperts. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
- "Jobs At Virgin Mobile". Virgin Mobile USA. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- "Virgin Mobile Latin America on track to begin operations in Chile". Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- "Virgin Mobile Latin America receives license to operate in Mexico By Greg Rose Nov 18, 2011".
- "Qtel, Virgin Group launch new mobile service", TradeArabia, 13 May 2010.
- Sutherland, Ewan. Qatar – the Regulator confirms Virgin is an MVNO not an NO, 3wan.net blog, 17 May 2010.
- "End To Virgin Mobile Name in Qatar Over Competition Row With Vodafone". Sky News. Wednesday 8 June 2011. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "Virgin Mobile exits Singapore market". Electronics News. 2003-07-10. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- Akers, Lawrence (2002-07-10). "Virgin's Version". Forbes. Retrieved 2007-08-22.