Sprint is shutting down Virgin Mobile service and will transfer all customers to Boost Mobile starting the week of February 2nd. You’ll keep your phone and number in “most instances,” and will move to a “comparable or better” plan at no additional charge. Your mobile broadband device won’t carry over, though, and you’ll have to change your payment options if you rely on either PayPal or 45/90-day top-ups.
If the Sprint/T-Mobile merger clears, Boost will be sold to Dish Networks, so what happens after that is anyone’s guess. Dish has a seven-year agreement to use the merged Sprint/T-Mobile network, but prices, service plans, and device lineups could all change.
The Sprint/T-Mobile merger has been approved by the federal government, but it is currently trapped in a lawsuit by state attorneys general trying to stop it on competitive grounds; closing arguments are scheduled for Jan. 15, although there is no hard date for the judge to make a decision.
Other “Virgin Mobile” brands in other countries are unaffected, as they’re run by other companies—in Canada, for instance, Virgin Mobile is run by Bell, and in the UK it’s run directly by Virgin Media.
Virgin Mobile USA launched in June 2002 as a virtual operator borrowing Sprint’s network; it was absorbed into Sprint in 2009. Traditionally, Virgin appealed more to younger, upscale consumers such as college students who didn’t have the established credit for postpaid plans, as opposed to Boost Mobile’s focus on inner-city locations.