Virgin Mobile Canada
Virgin Mobile Canada is an
interesting topic to say the least! The Virgin Mobile brand
is a powerful one that people all around the world can recognize.
Richard Branson, the founder and CEO of Virgin,
did a great job at creating the Virgin brand internationally.
It's truly an
amazing story to think about how Virgin Records turned into Virgin
Mobile, and even Virgin Atlantic - the airline!
mobile division or brand of Virgin came to the U.S. as a privately
company. It then went public, only to shortly thereafter be
purchased by Sprint Nextel. To read more about the background
of Virgin in the U.S. please visit the Sprint
Buys Virgin Mobile
section. Meanwhile, in North
Mobile Canada was building its brand. They had some
interesting marketing campaigns, and were reasonably successful in
launching a new brand in Canada. They partnered with Bell
Mobility as an MVNO
even though Bell has their own Solo prepaid wireless brand.
Bell owned 50% of the Virgin Mobile Canada business.
In May 2009, Bell announced that it had purchased the
remaining 50% of Virgin Canada for a cool $142 million. They
said they would continue to operate the Solo brand, and consider
potential consolidation at some point in the future.
As it turns out, on May 17, 2012, Bell announced that it is
discontinuing the Solo brand. While no new customers were
to activate, existing customers could keep their service.
makes a lot of sense given the success (and ownership interest) of
Virgin Canada. Operating multiple competing brands is not an
task, particularly in Canada where the market is one-tenth the size of
the United States.
Virgin was a great move for Bell, and it most certainly helped
compete with the new wireless carriers that entered the market in late
2009 and 2010. Note that Virgin Mobile USA continues to
operate as a completely different business under Sprint Nextel.
Though if you review the Virgin Broadband2Go product in the
U.S. and in Canada, you'll see so many similarities in terms of
on their websites that it makes you wonder whether there's some sharing
of assets between the two countries(?).
Bell Mobility at the helm, Virgin Mobile Canada has seen some really
great products, including the launch of Broadband2Go on Bell's high
speed data network. Interestingly,
they also offer postpaid plans. You can even get some pretty
high end phones (ex. iPhones, Android, and BlackBerries) on Virgin's
service, though for a no
contract plan you'll pay a pretty penny for it. I'm still not
clear on how sustainable that will be. It seems confusing for
customers who see Bell Mobility as a postpaid brand,
Mobile offering both
postpaid and prepaid. I think some better branding
positioning would probably be a good idea right about now! I
suppose they're counting on Canadians seeing Virgin as a completely
different company from Bell, and not seeing they as part of the same
Lastly, Virgin offers a unique SuperTab feature where they give you a
substantial discount on your phone, and then take 10% of your monthly
bill towards your SuperTab balance. It's actually a really
interesting approach, although for me it feels too much like locking
yourself into a long term relationship despite the fact that it's
supposed to be a prepaid, no contract service.
see the details of Virgin Canada's services, visit:
Wireless Phone Service
Broadband Providers - Canada
Virgin Mobile Canada
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