Sprint closing Virgin prepaid business and moving customers to Boost Mobile

Sprint is closing its Virgin Mobile USA prepaid wireless business and moving customers to Boost Mobile.
Sprint retail shop in USSprint, the fourth largest operator, and T-Mobile US, the third largest operator, have agreed to divest Sprint’s prepaid businesses, including Boost Mobile, to satellite television firm Dish Network to create a fourth U.S. wireless carrier.

T-Mobile US won U.S. antitrust approval for its $26 billion takeover of rival Sprint, the Justice Department said in July.

“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,” Tammy Parker, senior analyst at GlobalData, said.

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 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. Virgin Mobile had alienated its existing Android customers by the time this experiment ended in August 2018. Virgin Mobile continued selling Android devices despite its stated iPhone-only strategy confused potential customers.

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.