Sprint-owned Virgin Mobile is shutting down beginning next month. Customers who have the prepaid service will be transferred over to Boost Mobile, which Sprint also owns.
Fierce Wireless first reported the announcement. The news of the service’s shutdown comes as Sprint and T-Mobile are on the brink of a merger.
“We regularly examine our plans to ensure that we’re offering the best services in line with our customer needs,” a Sprint spokesperson told Fierce Wireless. “Beginning on the week of Feb. 2, we will be moving Virgin Mobile customer accounts to our sister brand Boost Mobile – consolidating the brands under one cohesive, efficient and effective prepaid team.”
According to Virgin Mobile’s FAQ page about the discontinuation of its service, customers will be able to keep their same phone and phone number once they transfer to Boost Mobile, however, mobile broadband devices and services will not transfer over.
Virgin Mobile says that customers could end up paying less for their account on Boost Mobile. Virgin Mobile customers currently use PayPal to pay for their mobile services, but with Boost Mobile, they will have to find another method of paying since PayPal is not a supported service.
Digital Trends reached out to Sprint and to Virgin Mobile to find out how many customers will be affected by the shutdown. We’ll update this story once we hear back.
Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile in 2009 for $483 million. Sprint’s upcoming merger with T-Mobile will mean other small carriers like Boost Mobile, KidsConnect, SpeedTalk, Walmart Family Mobile, and more will all live under one network.
T-Mobile and Sprint are seeking the merger to help them compete with more prominent carriers like Verizon and AT&T, and to bring 5G to more places faster — mainly rural areas.
Opponents of the merger, however, have expressed antitrust concerns, arguing that having fewer competitors is bad for consumers.
While the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice have both approved the merger, a trial will determine the final decision about the merger. The trial is currently being held in federal court and is expected to wrap up by the end of the month.