Yahoo Mobile prepares for shutdown

Verizon Yahoo Mobile
Last fall, Yahoo Mobile introduced its first-ever smartphone designed specifically with the Yahoo brand in mind, the Yahoo Mobile ZTE Blade A3Y. (Verizon Media)

Yahoo Mobile, one of Verizon’s prepaid brands, is shutting down and giving customers an “amazing option” for cell phone service.

That option happens to be Visible, another one of Verizon’s prepaid brands. Visible is the all-digital brand, targeting Millennials, and while it might sound a little peculiar to recommend a hip digital brand to old-time Yahoo diehards, their services aren’t that different when it comes down to it.

Yahoo Mobile started sending email messages to customers on June 17 telling them about the shutdown, as BestMVNO reported. Last month, Verizon announced it’s selling the Verizon Media entity to Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. Verizon will retain a 10% stake in the company, which will be known as Yahoo at close, but one of the casualties of that transaction is Yahoo Mobile.  

RELATED: Verizon’s Yahoo Mobile prepaid service gets its own ZTE phone

The operator is telling customers that their Yahoo Mobile service will be shut off completely no later than August 31. Customers, or “members” as they’re called, will be allowed to renew their membership for one additional month after June 16, but after that renewal month ends, their service will end, according to a company FAQ.

Yahoo Mobile
Yahoo Mobile screenshot

When it launched in 2020, the Yahoo Mobile brand was described by The Verge as “basically a rebranded version of Visible.” It shared the same parent company, but other things as well, like the same phone insurance plan under the Visible name.

RELATED: Verizon’s Visible names Angie Klein as CEO

Indeed, Yahoo Mobile says Visible offers the same options as Yahoo Mobile, including unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as 5G, 5 Mbps W-Fi hotspot and Wi-Fi calling, all powered by Verizon, for as low as $25 a month.

However, Yahoo Mobile members transferring to Visible right now don’t have the option to sign up for service using eSIM, one of the big selling points for Visible. Customers with an eSIM-enabled device are told to use the regular “physical SIM” purchase option when they’re signing up for Visible.

RELATED: Verizon’s Visible adds 5G, eSIM support

eSIM, which stands for embedded subscriber identity module, eliminates the physical SIM card, so a customer doesn’t need to visit a physical store to switch carriers.

Yahoo Mobile was intended to address the niche of customers who are Yahoo users, as Yahoo still has a solid amount of web traffic, said Jeff Moore, principal at Wave7 Research, which anticipated the shutdown. It’s unknown how many customers will be affected.

Though Wave7 Research never saw any retail or advertising presence from Yahoo Mobile, Visible is a brand that is getting some love, including through the marketing campaign with actor Kevin Bacon. “Visible’s actually gotten quite a bit of energy in the last few months," making several improvements to its offering, Moore said.