Ahead of an official ruling on the proposed megamerger between T-Mobile and Sprint, all Virgin Mobile USA users will be moved over to Boost Mobile beginning next month. RIP VMU.
A spokesperson for Sprint confirmed the news and told Gizmodo that it began notifying customers about the change earlier this week. In a statement, the spokesperson said that most customers will be able to keep their current mobile device and “will receive a comparable or better Boost Mobile service plan with no extra cost.”
“We regularly examine our plans to ensure that we’re offering the best services in line with our customer needs,” the spokesperson said. “Beginning on the week of Feb. 2, we will be moving Virgin Mobile customer accounts to our sister brand Boost Mobile—consolidating the brands under one cohesive, efficient and effective prepaid team.”
While Sprint appears to be framing the restructure as a good-willed customer satisfaction maneuver, a Virgin Group spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement that the move is part of the deal the Justice Department reached with T-Mobile and Sprint to sell their prepaid brands to Dish in order to establish the company as an ostensible fourth wireless competitor.
“To facilitate this move, Virgin Group has agreed with Sprint to transfer existing Virgin Mobile US customers to the Boost brand ahead of the sale to Dish. Following the transfer, Virgin will take back the Virgin Mobile brand for the US,” the Virgin Group spokesperson said. “We are delighted that after a period of uncertainty caused by the protracted merger discussions, we have control of our valuable brand once again and will now work on options to relaunch a modern mobile offer in the US.”
It’s worth noting that per an FAQ about the changes on Virgin Mobile’s website, Boost Mobile does not currently accept PayPal as a payment method. Virgin Mobile says that users currently enrolled in AutoPay with PayPal “will need to remove it from your account and replace [it] with a debit or credit card prior to transfer to avoid service interruption.”
The Sprint spokesperson stopped returning Gizmodo’s requests for comment when asked about the specifics laid out in the Virgin Group statement. Prior to that, however, the spokesperson stressed that the transition would shake out to a better deal for those customers being moved over to Boost from Virgin Mobile USA. In addition, the spokesperson noted that all Boost plans include taxes and fees and that all customers being switched will have unlimited talk, text, and data without annual service contracts.
The bad news, of course, is that Boost Mobile is unfortunately still owned by Sprint.