Virgin Mobile is a wireless communications brand used by eight independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Mobile branded wireless communications services are currently available in Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Virgin Mobile branded services were formerly offered in Singapore and Qatar.
Each Virgin Mobile branded entity acts independently from the others, thus the handsets, service plans and network radio interfaces vary from country to country. In a given country, the Virgin Mobile wireless entity is typically a partnership between Richard Branson's Virgin Group and an existing mobile network operator or mobile virtual network operator.
A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) (or mobile other licensed operator (MOLO) in the United Kingdom) is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which the MVNO provides services to its customers. An MVNO enters into a business agreement with a mobile network operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently. An MVNO may use its own customer service and billing support systems, marketing and sales personnel or it may employ the services of a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE).
Countries such as the United Kingdom, Scandinavian countries, and Spain are leading this business model in Europe.
Sprint Corporation, also known as Sprint is a United States telecommunications holding company that provides wireless services and is also a major global Internet carrier. It's the third largest U.S. wireless network operator as of 2013, and served more than 54 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2013, in addition to the Sprint brand, the company also offers wireless voice, messaging, and broadband services through its various subsidiaries under the Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless brands, as well as wholesale access to its wireless networks to mobile virtual network operators. The company is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. In July 2013, a majority of the company was purchased by Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank Corporation, although the remaining shares of the company continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Sprint traces its origins to the Brown Telephone Company, which was founded in 1899 to deploy telephone service to the rural area around Abilene, Kansas. In 2006, Sprint exited the local landline telephone business, spinning those assets off into a newly created company named Embarq, which later became a part of CenturyLink. The company continues to be one of the largest long distance providers in the United States.
Virgin Mobile USA is a prepaid wireless voice, messaging, and mobile broadband service provider in the contiguous United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico under the Virgin Mobile, payLo and Assurance Wireless brands. Virgin Mobile USA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint Corporation.
Founded in 2001 as a joint venture between Virgin Group, Singapore Telecommunications Limited and original Sprint Corporation, Virgin Mobile USA commenced operations in June, 2002 as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) providing services via the Sprint 1900 MHz CDMA network. In 2008, Virgin Mobile USA acquired post-paid services provider Helio, Inc. then in 2009, Sprint Nextel bought out joint venture partner Virgin Group, becoming the sole owner of Virgin Mobile USA.
Virgin Mobile Canada is a provider of postpaid and prepaid wireless voice, text and data communications services throughout Canada. Launched on March 1, 2005 as a joint venture between Virgin Group and BCE, BCE took sole ownership on July 1, 2009 when it closed a deal to purchase the stake it did not already own.
Fido Solutions is a Canadian cellular telephone service provider currently owned by Rogers Communications. It was formerly owned by Microcell Telecommunications. Fido does, however, remain a separate entity from Rogers. Although Fido's parent company, Rogers Communications, also operates another wireless brand named Rogers Wireless they remain mostly separate as Fido has retained its own retail chain, customer service call centres, network servers and CEO. Fido pioneered the concept of providing unlimited service in select Canadian cities. Fido was the first carrier in Canada to launch a GSM-based network and the first wireless service provider in North America to offer General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) on its network.
The original development of Fido was funded in part by Voicestream, now T-Mobile US. Fido was the first provider in Canada to offer a network with the GSM standard.