Optus to phase out Virgin Mobile brand

Optus to phase out Virgin Mobile brand

Optus will phase out Virgin Mobile Australia and will close 36 stores across Australia just a day after it was hit with a $1.5 million fine for misleading customers over the NBN.

The giant telco will close down Virgin Mobile over the next two years with around 200 jobs to be cut.

Virgin Mobile Australia has been owned and co-owned by Optus for 18 years since its introduction in 2000.

It was established as a 50-50 joint venture between Optus and Virgin Mobile UK, until Virgin Mobile UK bought a 75 per cent stake in 2002.

This followed on with Optus purchasing full ownership in 2006 for $30 million in order to expand the brand's products to incorporate fixed line and internet services.

Virgin Mobile customers are expected to be moved to Optus' network and the company identified the potential for Virgin Mobile employees to be reassigned to Optus stores.

"Our policy is always to talk to those (Virgin Mobile employees) who may be impacted by these changes first," says an Optus spokesperson.

"Any potential options for redeployment within the wider Optus business will be discussed with affected individuals at that time."

On Wednesday the competition watchdog, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), fined Optus $1.5 million as a result of it misleading customers on their need to move to the national broadband network sooner than required.

In handing down the fine, the ACCC estimated Optus benefitted by up to $750,000 as a result of the move.

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