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Virgin Mobile to close shop in SA after 15 years

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Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile is closing shop in South Africa after 15 years.

This after the operator was placed into voluntary business rescue last year.

In a tweet yesterday, the MVNO said: “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.”

The closure comes amid reports that although SA’s MVNO market is opening up, growth can’t be accelerated if there is no spectrum being allocated to players.

Launched in 2006 as a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Cell C, Virgin Mobile South Africa established itself as a dynamic and growing brand with stores nationwide.

Says Virgin Mobile on its website: “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.

“After 15 amazing years, our Virgin Mobile story is coming to an end. Virgin Mobile South Africa service will come to an end on the 30th of November 2021.

“As we begin to wind down our operation our customer care team will be available to discuss various migration options with you.”

The South African MVNO space has witnessed a surge in the form of new players coming to market in recent years.

While it’s been dominated by Cell C, with MVNOs such as FNB Connect, me&you and Mr P Mobile piggy-backing on the telco’s network over the years, SA’s MVNO market recently saw retailer Pick n Pay introduce an MVNO product – PnP Mobile – the first to launch on the MTN network.

Others such as the Shoprite Group and Standard Bank have also rolled out their MVNO offerings.

Responding to those with contracts, Virgin Mobile SA says: “You will be contacted by Virgin Mobile Customer Care who will give you the option to either switch to Telkom and take up one of their awesome handset packages or assist you with the cancellation of your contract.”

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