Virgin Mobile will soon be no more. South Africa’s first mobile virtual network operator, which was launched on Cell C’s network to much fanfare 15 years ago, will close its doors on 1 November.
The decision to shut up shop comes after the business was placed into voluntary business rescue in November 2020. The company told TechCentral at the time that it had become necessary to seek business rescue to restructure the company and stave off collapse.
It’s now clear that it wasn’t possible to save Virgin Mobile South Africa, with the company announcing on its website that the decision was taken due to big shifts in the South African mobile market.
“In recent years, the market has changed considerably, and a combination of tough trading conditions, strong competition and the economic stress posed by Covid-19 means that it has been a challenging market for Virgin Mobile South Africa,” it said.
Since the business was placed into business rescue, the company’s management team – led by Zak van der Merwe – has worked with stakeholders to try to save it. it’s understood that Van der Merwe will leave the business.
“As part of the business’s new strategy, it will be completely rebranded as its new go-to-market strategy is implemented. As such, the business will cease trading as Virgin Mobile from 30 November 2021,” it said.
Existing Virgin Mobile customers will be contacted before the closure and given the option of switching to Telkom’s network or cancelling their contracts.
“Telkom is offering exclusive deals to anyone switching to its service from Virgin Mobile,” according to a notice on the Virgin Mobile website.
After 15 amazing years, our Virgin Mobile story is coming to an end. It has been our pleasure connecting our customers with their loved ones and we’d like to thank each of you for being part of our family in these past years.
Visit https://t.co/VGvJQ8PMZx for more info pic.twitter.com/9mj4rJiqC9
— Virgin Mobile SA (@virginmobilesa) September 3, 2021
However, most customers still on Virgin Mobile are believed to be prepaid users.
Van der Merwe told TechCentral in November that the business had recently changed shareholding. He declined, however, to comment on specific questions about the shareholder make-up, or whether Richard Branson’s Virgin Group remained invested. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media