Cell C terminates services to Virgin Mobile users

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Mobile operator Cell C has switched off services to 15 000 Virgin Mobile subscribers, 15 years after its launch.

Cell C terminated Virgin Mobile’s data connectivity yesterday, while voice services will be switched off at 5pm today and SMS services will stop working tomorrow at 5pm.

This phased approach, Cell C says, ensures consumers have time to secure new connectivity services.

Virgin Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that had piggybacked on the Cell C network, announced a fortnight ago that it would close shop in SA after 15 years of operations in SA.

In a short public advisory on social media, the mobile virtual network operator 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 these past years.”

Cell C notes it is committed and ready to continue to provide connectivity to Virgin Mobile subscribers. “A number of offers have been packaged and are open to all consumers, for the next 14 days, exclusively via Cell C’s website, without any credit checks, contracts, or extended commitments.”

Virgin Mobile entered SA in 2006, targeting 10% of the market, but this was later revised to 1% of market share in 2010.

Over the years, market analysts were sceptical of the MVNO, with many questioning whether Virgin Mobile was relevant as a competitor in the local mobile space.

The South African MVNO sector 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 piggybacking 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 MVNO offerings.

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