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​Optus to shutter Virgin Mobile stores by June 30

The Virgin Mobile Australia brand will continue to operate over the next couple of years, but it will stop upgrading and selling new services on June 15, 2018.

Optus has provided further information on the closure of its Virgin Mobile Australia subsidiary, revealing on Wednesday it will begin the retail store phase-out from June 4, 2018, and will stop upgrading and selling new postpaid mobile and broadband services on June 15.

All Virgin Mobile retail stores will be closed by the end of next month.

"This decision comes as a result of a strategic review of the Optus and Virgin Mobile brands which was recently conducted ahead of the approaching expiry of the Virgin Mobile brand licence in 2020," the phase-out FAQs explain.

Around 200 staffers will be affected as a result of the closure, Optus said, and it will do its "very best" to redeploy existing employees within the Optus business "wherever possible". Optus had on Tuesday revealed it would be cutting 400 roles as part of its strategy to provide premium content and "game-changing experiences".

"For Virgin Mobile employees, our policy is always to talk to those who may be impacted by these changes first. Any potential options for redeployment within the wider Optus business will be discussed with affected individuals at that time," an Optus spokesperson said in a statement last week.

Where customers are concerned, the telco said all customers will be able to continue to use their Virgin Mobile service as normal, and that all current contracts will be honoured.

All current Virgin Mobile service teams, as well as My Account and the My Account app, will be available to support customers, too. Optus said it will communicate with customers directly about any changes that may affect their Virgin Mobile account in the future.

After June 30, Virgin Mobile customers will need to visit Optus retail stores for replacement SIM cards and handset warranty claims.

"As they are already connected to the Optus network, Virgin Mobile customers can continue to use their service in the same way they always have," Optus managing director of Marketing & Product Ben White said. "We have a special transition plan in place to make sure the impact to customers is minimal, and the experience they have during this time is a positive one.

Virgin Mobile customers will be offered "specially tailored plans" by Optus after Virgin Mobile is shut down.

See also: 5G will power digital transformation (TechRepublic)

Virgin Mobile has been continually losing market share, according to Kantar, with the market research company in November reporting the telco had lost 0.4 percentage points down to holding just 4 percent of the total Australian mobile market.

Optus has also been wholesaling its 4G network to its Virgin Mobile subsidiary since 2014.

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