Well tough it out, states Virgin Mobile US boss - Mobile World Live

Well tough it out, states Virgin Mobile US boss

05 NOV 2009

Despite issuing a profits warning last month and admitting that the US was heading into a consumer spending downturn, Virgin Group boss Richard Branson says he will continue to back the group’s US MVNO, Virgin Mobile.

Branson said the Virgin Group, now a 35% shareholder in the US MVNO, had acknowledged that Virgin Mobile USA was suffering from near-term difficulties as US consumers reduced their spending. “There are cycles,” he told Reuters in an interview at the CTIA show in Las Vegas this week. “I don’t think the consumer downturn in America will be more than 12 months.”

In an effort to compete with its much larger US rivals, Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA, said the company would maintain a sharp focus on targeting services to its customers in the 15 to 34 year old age bracket, and on keeping its pricing plans up to date. “While rivals talk a lot about services such as mobile video and music downloads, much of the hype around such services is overblown.” Instead, Schulman sees messaging and links to social network sites as being important and eventually wants to tie these to services such as automatically locating a friend, using GPS technology. “Messaging is gigantic in all its forms whether it be instant messaging, text messaging or e-mailing,” he said. “Tying that in to social networks with location based services is going to be the big thing that occurs in the next year or two.”

Schulman said that the company’s goal was to either grow or keep its share of the US prepaid market, as it grows from an estimated 30 million customers to about 50 million in 2010.

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