Sprint has decided to pull the plug on Virgin Mobile USA and has started informing customers that its services would be discontinued soon. The company has not announced the exact timeframe, but whenever it happens, this would mark the end of the around 18-year presence of the brand in the market. Virgin Mobile USA said in a statement on its website that switchover would begin next month. It is also informing users about the move through text message. The move to combine both the services would simplify Sprint’s sub-brand base just before the proposed divestment to Dish Network. It was one of the conditions set by regulators for approval of the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile US.
Sprint has been in making headlines over the last few months because of clouds of suspense looming large over whether or not T-Mobile will ultimately be allowed to absorb Sprint, the industry’s current number four. When the USD 26.5 billion merger gets finalized, Dish Network will step in to replace Sprint as a nationwide competitor for the ‘New T-Mobile’. This would be in accordance with the conditions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission to give a green signal to the mega-deal. In order to begin operations as a mobile network operator, Dish will be purchasing USD 3.6 billion worth of vital 800 MHz spectrum. Apart from this, it would purchase USD 1.4 billion worth of prepaid businesses from Sprint.
Experts believe that the move was no surprise as Boost Mobile was the prime focus of Sprint. For the uninitiated, Virgin Mobile USA virtual network operator (MVNO) in 2002. Dan Schulman was its CEO at that time and is now in charge of e-commerce giant PayPal. It conducted an initial public offer (IPO) in the year 2007 and two years later it was acquired by Sprint Nextel. In 2016, it started marketing itself as an iPhone-only network but the scheme was scrapped in just over a year. This, to some extent, forced Sprint to change its strategy and the results are in front of everyone.