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Branson exits Virgin Mobile USA with almost half a billion dollars

mocoNews reports that Sprint is to acquire Virgin Mobile USA for $5.50 per share or $483 million.

Nice.

This is a good move for Sprint. For too long the operator has undeservedly been written off as an also-ran. Their aggressive price plan strategies have been forcing a lot of attention and no small amount of pain for their competitors. Their data network was one of the best I’ve used.

The focus on this deal is the strengthening of the operator’s prepaid business alongside it’s existing Boost Mobile business. I’ve been sitting staring at Virgin Mobile USA for a while wondering what exactly they were going to do next. Although they’ve been doing some brilliant marketing I felt they’d run out of juice a little in terms of what they could offer. My biggest beef was mobile data. $5 a month bought you 5mb of data on a prepaid account. Rubbish. Tip top guaranteed rubbish.

So whilst Virgin’s been hammering away at the ‘unlimited talk’ or ‘unlimited text’, I’ve been witnessing a growing demand for data services that don’t appear too comfortable for prepaid operators.

I hope that the new acquisition will rejuvenate Virgin Mobile’s data offerings. If you’re on Pay As You Go, you should still get a decent ‘unlimited’ data offering.

Sprint will retain the Virgin Mobile brand until their licensing contract with the Virgin Group runs out in 2012… and then I reckon they’ll probably dump it.

Still, a reasonably good exit for Mr Branson et al.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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