As the one year anniversary of the takeover by NTL approaches, Virgin Mobile (NASDAQ:VMED) has lost Alan Gow (one of the original staff seconded from one2one) and Joe Steel who was the commercial director. This means that more or less all the senior executive team from the independent days has gone.
Alan Gow admitted in an interview with Mobile Today:
The market has gone more downhill than we thought which is why being part of a big group is good.
In other words, the competition from O2, Orange and Voda (NASDAQ:VOD) is proving extremely tough at the moment in the prepaid segment that Virgin Mobile targets. Anybody, let alone an MVNO, would struggle with some of the on-net deals currently being offered.
Unlike some, I think there is zero possibility that the pressure from the MNOs will be released over the rest of the year. I also don’t think that additional subscribers from the quad play will make up for the prepay losses. Apart from the sales channel into the cable base, Virgin Mobile's distribution is extremely weak, and opening up a few stores here and there won't make a big difference. The only potential bright spot is the recent Comet deal.
I expect Virgin Mobile to continue losing subscribers throughout 2007.