Optus to end Virgin Mobile in Australia

…and that’s one more dead company, as Optus shutters its Virgin Mobile brand, leaving one less operator in the market.

The “Virgin” logo may be disappearing from Australian shores once more. It’s already hard enough to find locally as it is, and without the few Virgin Megastores we once had, Virgin Mobile was one of the only places you could expect the Richard Branson-fronted brand to appear.

But Virgin Mobile in Australia hasn’t been a real part of Virgin for a while, and this week’s announcement proves it, as its actual local owner decides to start shutting up shop.

This week, Optus has announced it will phrase out use of the Virgin Mobile brand over the next two years, closing the Virgin Mobile stores and gradually ending the brand’s presence in Australia.

For customers, this means change is coming, though it won’t necessarily amount to anything for the moment. In fact, Optus says Virgin Mobile customers will be able to keep using the service regularly for the moment, though Optus will contact customers in the coming days to let them know the news, and to provide future options.

Our guess is that though who provide no objection will be shifting to an Optus plan or prepaid option, though we’d be particularly interested to see how Virgin handles plans where phones are being paid off. We suspect if you don’t want to be on Optus, you’d be allowed to leave your contract without any repercussions, as these sorts of things are rare.

As a note, a move from Virgin to Optus keeps said customer on the same network, as Virgin was owned by Optus and operated on the Optus network, leaving little room for difference between the two. They weren’t always the same, but they technically behaved the same as far as the mobile and data network was concerned.

For now, that’s another chapter on an operator, and one that might make it perfect time for folks on Virgin to see what else is around for them. And if you’re toying with the idea for a new phone, while the Virgin Mobile website might still be up, you’d be best to shop around elsewhere for a mobile carrier in the near future.

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