Perhaps you’ve already heard of Virgin Mobile, one of the most popular brands today. It is a brand that is used by different mobile phone service providers, and is based in the United Kingdom. It also has operations in Australia, India, Canada, France, the United States and South Africa.
It was briefly introduced in Singapore but was pulled out after only one year due to low sales. This was mainly because the mobile phone market in Singapore was already heavily saturated at that time. Hence, any new player in the market was bound to encounter problems attracting new customers.
A Brief History of the Company
When it was launched in the United Kingdom in 1998, it was the world’s first ever Mobile Virtual Network Operator. This means that the brand does not have its own network. Instead, it enters into a partnership with other network providers to use their existing network, while the company provides the brand which is highly popular worldwide. Each business acts as an independent entity, although there is a partnership with the Virgin Group of Sir Richard Branson. Therefore, Sir Richard Branson’s company provides the brand, while the phone company provides the network infrastructure.
A Brief Look at the Worldwide Operations
In the UK, the company entered into partnership with the well-respected T-Mobile network, while in the US, the company got Sprint Nextel as their network provider. In Australia, the company utilizes the Optus network, while Bell Mobility was the network of choice for Canada.
In France, the company uses Orange SA, while it uses Cell C for their coverage in South Africa. In India, the company uses the Tata Indicom network. All these networks actually use different mobile telephone standards, which is CDMA and GSM. CDMA is used in India, Canada and the US, while GSM is used in South Africa, the UK, France and Australia.
The company is currently eyeing to open operations in Pakistan, although nothing is definite at this point.
A Brief Look at What the Company Offers
In each of the countries where it operates, Virgin Mobile provides pay as you go service for those who prefer the prepaid option when it comes to mobile phones. This means that you only pay for the service that you actually use.
If you don’t make any calls or if you don’t send any SMS messages, then you won’t be paying for anything. This is unlike a post-paid subscription, where you choose a particular plan which comes with an allotment of number of text messages that you can send and number of minutes for talk-time that you can use. However, this post-paid option is only available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa.
When the company was launched in the UK, prepaid wireless service was already very popular. This was not the case when it entered the US market, although the company slowly built up a customer base due to their competitive pricing and great customer service. Now, they have a significant market share in that country.
In June 2009, the company announced that it will launch a pay as you go program for mobile data which is called ‘Broadband2Go’ in the US. It will use hardware from Novatel Wireless, and will be originally be available exclusively in the Best Buy store chain. However, this is now available through other retailers such as the RadioShack. Broadband2Go uses a device that looks like a USB flash drive which you just need to plug into your computer to connect to the internet