Sprint’s Virgin mobile USA closure was long overdue

Following the news (Monday 6 January) that Sprint is closing its Virgin Mobile USA prepaid wireless business and moving customers to Boost Mobile;

Tammy Parker, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the news:

“It has been clear that Boost Mobile is Sprint’s primary focus in the prepaid wireless segment for a while and this move is no surprise. Virgin Mobile USA became an afterthought in many consumers’ minds and has been a distraction dragging on Sprint’s prepaid results.

“Signs that Sprint would soon close its Virgin Mobile secondary brand were everywhere in recent months. GlobalData’s Pricing and Promotions service noted that Virgin Mobile-supported handsets were no longer available in Best Buy stores after August, and they disappeared from Wal-Mart shelves in October. Even before 2019, K-Mart, Target and even Sprint’s own stores stopped marketing Virgin Mobile’s phones.

“Virgin Mobile’s unique but ultimately disastrous 14-month foray into being an Apple iPhone-only carrier targeting higher-value customers really crushed all hopes of revitalization for the Sprint sub-brand. By the time this dubious experiment ended in August 2018, Virgin Mobile had alienated its existing Android customers, and the fact that it continued selling Android devices despite its stated iPhone-only strategy confused potential customers, all of which caused irreparable damage to the brand.

“Sprint’s shuttering of Virgin Mobile USA potentially aids DISH Network’s plans to start up a new wireless business built in part upon Sprint’s prepaid operations, simply because it won’t have to deal with the negative overhang from the decaying Virgin Mobile brand. Of course, DISH’s vision remains on hold because it is part of Sprint’s intended merger with T-Mobile US.”

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