Optus rumoured to close Virgin Mobile in Australia

MVNOs are very popular in Australia with many users opting for the resellers’ cheaper prices for phone and data access. One such MVNO is Virgin Mobile, previously jointly owned by Optus and Virgin Mobile UK but now wholly owned by Optus after they bought out Richard Branson’s share in 2006. Now, The Australian is reporting that the MVNO will be no more.

The Australian believes that Optus is getting ready to shutter Virgin Mobile Australia and migrate all users over to Optus — those customers ready are, in effect, Optus customers, except in name. In the process Optus, will no longer have to pay branding licence fees to Virgin Mobile.

When queried about the story, Virgin Australia PR directed our enquiry to Optus, which leads us to believe there’s something in this story. For their part, an Optus spokesperson told Ausdroid:

At Optus, we continually review our business model to ensure we’re working in the best way possible to meet our customer’s needs and achieve our goals.

Optus does not comment on rumour and speculation.

While we don’t have any changes to announce today, if there are changes, our priority is to talk directly with our employees first, and anyone who might be affected by any proposed changes.

Just last year, Virgin Mobile stopped taking on new prepaid customers signalling a change in the winds. With Virgin Mobile steadily losing market share (down from 5.4% to 4.4% during the 12 months to June 2017) it would be no surprise to see Optus consolidate their share of the market with TPG set to enter the space very soon.

TPG are big enough to shake up the market with their own spectrum and no need to piggyback off any of the big three carriers. Optus appears to be shoring up their own shop before this happens.

While none of this is official just yet, The Australian seems fairly certain of their source and it makes sense for Optus to head down this path. Hopefully in the end as consumers we are the winners.

Are you with Virgin Mobile? Will you be concerned about this migration over to Optus?

Scott Plowman: Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast. Outside of Ausdroid, Scott's a health care professional and lecturer at a well known Victorian university.

View Comments (12)

  • Yes, this concerns me. As a long time Virgin customer, I have ported friends and family over to the service so that we could take advantage of things like free V to V services. Also, their generous data packages with low cost. This is sad.

  • It'll be interesting to see what sort of plans TPG comes out with, and what their usability/reception is like, seeing as you could typically go off the underlying system with an MVNO (Boost/Telstra, Amaysim/Optus etc) but they'll have to stand on their own feet (so to speak)

  • Wonder if we will be required to sign up for new contracts? I'm 12mths into a 24mth one.

  • I got out when they had their change last year - the writing was on the wall.

    Anything Optus touches seems to turn to .....

  • I've been a long time Virgin customer simply because all their handsets come unlocked. Do others do this?

  • I moved from Optus to virgin years ago as my partner was with them I also have my grand daughter added to them as well however 3 of us with virgin yet I am the only one who has reception issues where ever I am not sure how this can be I won't cave and go anywhere near Telstra I've always been for Optus and virgin is run of the Optus network

  • Dang i wonder if plans and data allowances will change in the migration? Its a shame its hard to find a wireless modem that gives you 140gb for $65 a month (broke ass uni student). My phone lines max out at 1.5mbps and telstra is the only provider available so $$$ and optus thottles their wireless modem users but with virgin i can hit 20mbps at off peak times