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Virgin Mobile USA tops 4.6M customers

At the close of a year that saw Virgin Mobile USA L.L.C. introduce penny texting, hybrid price plans and an ad-time-for-airtime service called SugarMama, the company announced that it now serves 4.6 million customers.
The mobile virtual network operator has been in business for about four and a half years.
“We’re basically keeping the same pace of growth as we have experienced through most of our early history,” said Dan Schulman, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA. “We always want to do more, but we’re pleased with the trajectory.”
Schulman attributed Virgin Mobile USA’s performance to a keen focus on the youth demographic; a refusal to be “seduced by the hype of various applications or technology;” and concentrating on the intersection of customer experience, customer demand and price. That three-pronged strategy played out last year with the introduction of Virgin’s penny texting, which the company said is easy to use, popular among youth and inexpensive.
Virgin Mobile USA said its customers sent or received 1.5 billion text messages last year; the equivalent of every customer sending or receiving 30 text messages per month, or one per day.
Schulman said that much of Virgin Mobile USA’s recent growth is due to higher-usage customers who have moved onto its recently introduced hybrid plans, which offer some of the benefits of postpaid plans without the contractual strings. The company’s customer base also is active in consuming content, having downloaded more than 4.8 million ringtones last year and more than 2.5 million games and graphics, Virgin Mobile USA reported.
Schulman also noted that Virgin Mobile USA now has “hundreds of thousands” of customers using the company’s SugarMama service, which offers airtime credits in exchange for watching advertisements. He added that the company will likely expand that service.
Schulman also said the carrier plans to increase donations to social and environmental non-profit agencies. The company currently donates 5 percent of the profits from its content downloads to youth-focused charities, and Schulman said that Virgin Mobile USA expects to double or triple the amount of money that it gives to “pro-social” organizations.
“It’s what our customers expect of us,” Schulman said.


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