Virgin Mobile brand to vanish from France in June

The Virgin Mobile brand is set to disappear from the French mobile market following the integration of the virtual network operator with the low-cost Red by SFR brand.

In a blog post, Virgin Mobile said its portal would finally close its doors on Jun. 30. Former Virgin Mobile customers now have the option to transfer to Red by SFR plans, which are marketed as low-cost options within the SFR group.

The closure of the Virgin Mobile brand forms part of the general strategy by SFR parent company Altice to bring all services in France under the SFR brand. The company has already dropped the Numericable brand in favour of SFR for a number of services, although Numericable is being retained for audiovisual content services.

Red by SFR has also recently undergone a major overhaul and has now become a distinctly separate brand within the group. Its mobile offerings are similar to those of Virgin Mobile as they focus on low-cost, no-commitment plans as an alternative to the premium SFR plans.

"The purpose of Virgin Mobile and Red by SFR is to offer you maximum freedom and an impeccable quality of service. As a Virgin Mobile customer, you are now part of the SFR group," the company says on its Web site.

The move marks the disappearance of a brand that has been available to French mobile customers since 2006, when Virgin Mobile was first launched by Omea Telecom -- a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Carphone Warehouse that was previously known as Omer Telecom.

After Altice reached a deal to buy SFR from Vivendi in June 2014, cable operator Numericable agreed to buy Omer Telecom for €325 million ($364 million) following the successful conclusion of talks with the two existing shareholders.

For more:
- see the Virgin Mobile blog

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