Virgin Mobile to close its doors in South Africa from the end of November.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Virgin Mobile South Africa will cease trading from the end of November 2021, the group’s chief executive officer, Zak van de Merwe has said.
In September 2020, the group voluntarily entered Business Rescue in a bid to recapitalise the business and rehabilitate it after the impact of the global pandemic.
It said in a statement on Friday (3 September) that in the 11 months since entering business rescue, the business rescue team – working closely with the management team and shareholders – has made significant progress towards the recapitalisation of the business.
"Negotiations have progressed well and the team is optimistic that it will conclude the process during September 2021," it said.
The directors, it said, have announced that it will cease trading as Virgin Mobile South Africa from the end of November 2021 and that the Virgin Mobile brand will be withdrawn from the South African market.
"Virgin Group had taken the decision to cease using the Virgin Mobile brand in South Africa as part of the sale of the business in 2019."
Neither Richard Branson nor the Virgin Group are shareholders in the company, the group stressed. The Virgin Group agreed to allow the company to use the Virgin brand until the end of November 2021 whilst the business went through the restructuring process.
"Customer experience during this transition remains the number one priority, and all customers who wish to do so will be afforded the opportunity to transfer to a new service provider with no penalties, up to the end of November 2021," the statement read.
"The company’s customer care team will be on hand for those customers who wish to migrate to different service providers, ensuring customers receive the same support they have grown to expect from the business."
Virgin Mobile SA chief executive, Zak van de Merwe, said: "Virgin Mobile South Africa has been proud to connect people across South Africa for the past fifteen years.
"As we enter this next phase of the business’ growth strategy, the business plans to take a different direction which will see it move away from its traditional consumer-focused business to play a more enabling role in the further development of the South African MVNO market.
"As the first MVNO on the continent 15 years ago, we were proud and still are proud to service and shape an industry that today is a significant contributor to the Telecommunications sector. As the market now starts to enter the next phase of its evolution, the team are excited and equally hopeful that we will continue to play a pivotal role in the industry’s development."