Update: This is now confirmed. See Virgin Mobile’s statement below.
According to a series of tips I’ve just received from multiple trusted sources, Virgin Mobile USA is planning to shut down the post-paid chunk of their wireless services on May 25th, 2010.
You see, there once was a little wireless carrier called Helio. Bringing over all kinds of crazy sliding what-nots from South Korea, they tried their damnedest to offer the coolest cell phones on the block. They also bled money like a busted spigot, burning $710 million before they were ready to call it quits. In June of 2008, Virgin Mobile (who then offered solely pre-paid wireless plans) came along and snatched up Helio for $39 million in stock, primarily to serve as a foundation for their then non-existent postpaid service.
A great plan, until Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile just a year later, primarily for their pre-paid service. Sprint obviously already has a big ol’ post-paid service, making Virgin Mobile’s (relatively small) post-paid service mostly useless.
As a result, Virgin Mobile will be ending their postpaid offerings come May 25th, less than two years after they purchased it in the form of Helio.
It’s currently unclear what will happen to active Virgin Mobile postpaid accounts, though they will presumably be transitioned over to Sprint’s postpaid services. We reached out for a comment from the two companies early this morning, and have not yet received a response.
Update: We’ve just confirmed this with Virgin Mobile. Current Virgin Mobile (ex-Helio) customers will not automatically be transitioned to Sprint. Here’s what they said:
No customer will be automatically migrated to Sprint’s postpaid service. However, Sprint has created a special offer for our customers.
Current postpaid customers are being given $50 towards the purchase of a Sprint postpaid handset with a new two-year agreement. This credit is in addition to any applicable rebates that may apply. Postpaid customers moving from Virgin Mobile to Sprint will also receive $150 off of handsets as part of Sprint’s standing new customer offer. Activation fees will also be waived.