Sprint Buys Virgin Mobile USA In $438 Mln Deal

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Struggling telecommunications giant Sprint has announced it is buying pre-paid MVNO Virgin Mobile USA in a deal worth upwards of $480 million—although only $248 million will come out of Sprint’s coffers when the deal goes through. The acquisition in designed to help Spring become a bigger player in the growing market for pre-paid calling: as financial times have gotten tough, consumers have increasingly opted out of pricey subscription plans and opted for pay-as-you-go mobile plans. The deal will add about 5 million new customers to Sprint’s remaining 50 million-or-so wireless users.

“The acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA positions Sprint for even greater success in the prepaid wireless segment,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, in a statement. “Prepaid is growing at an unprecedented rate with consumers keenly focused on value. Virgin Mobile is an iconic brand in the marketplace that will complement our Boost Mobile brand.”

Virgin Mobile is the second largest MVNO operating in the U.S.—the largest is TracFone—and Virgin Mobile has always used Sprint’s wireless network. Virgin Mobile and Sprint don’t have much overlap on devices: Virgin Mobile has focussed on relatively inexpensive handsets from the likes of Kyocera and Samsung, while Sprint has aimed at higher-end devices—most recently the Palm Pre. Sprint plans to operate Virgin Mobile as a second pre-paid mobile brand, similar to how Virgin was handling Boost Mobile.

The deal raises questions about the future of Helio, another Sprint-based MVNO that Virgin Mobile acquired a little over a year ago for $39 million. Currently, the companies indicate Helio customers will not be impacted by Sprint’s acquisition of Virgin Mobile.

The deal values Virgin Mobile at $483 million; when the deal closes in the fourth quarter of 2009, Sprint plans to pay off about $205 million in Virgin Mobile debt.

Mobile

T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Mobile

AT&T adds Minneapolis and Chicago to its mobile 5G road map for 2019

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

Galaxy S10? Foldable phone? What to expect from Samsung’s Unpacked on Feb. 20

Samsung's skipping Mobile World Congress 2019 to launch its next big smartphone a week earlier in San Francisco. We're fully expecting the Galaxy S10 to show up, but what else will be there? Here's what to expect.
Mobile

You can now get Google Fi SIM cards straight from Best Buy

Google's wireless service known as Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi. The company also announced the service is now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about…
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.
Computing

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.