Virgin Mobile targets South Africa

8 December 2005

South Africans will soon see a new player in the cellular industry.

Local telecommunications company Cell C and Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile are to launch a joint venture in the first half of 2006: a Virgin Mobile branded service over Cell C’s network.

The joint venture, which will launch in the first half of 2006, will be known as Virgin Mobile South Africa.

‘Key market’
“South Africa is a key market for Virgin and a country that I personally love very much,” said Virgin Mobile president Sir Richard Branson.

“I am looking forward to coming to South Africa to launch this exciting new business next year.

“Our partnership with Cell C will bring a new approach to the mobile market and will be a refreshing alternative from the bland offerings of other players,” he said.

Enhanced competition
Cell C CEO Talaat Laham said his company was “pleased to be bringing an international brand of the stature of Virgin Mobile to further enhance competition in South Africa.

“Cell C constantly seeks to introduce new products and services into the South African market. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with Virgin.”

Virtual network
Both companiss are newcomers in their respective markets.

Virgin began operating a virtual network in 1999, offering comunications services over T-mobile’s cellular network. The company has almost five million customers in Britain.

Cell C was the third South African cellular operator to be granted a licence, and began operating in 2001.

The Cell C-Virgin Mobile announcement comes only a month after another British cellular company, Vodafone, announced its intention to increase its stake in the South African market. reporter