VIRGIN MOBILE INKS LONG-AWAITED DEAL WITH SOUTH AFRICA’S CELL-C
The Virgin Group and South Africa’s Cell C network announced the long-awaited formation of a joint venture last week. The company is expected to be launched during the first half of 2006. “Our partnership with Cell C will bring a new approach to the mobile market and will be a refreshing alternative from the bland offerings of other players,” said Virgin founder Richard Branson.
Branson said that the joint venture with Saudi-backed Cell-C would cost about US$79 million to set up and that Virgin would probably price its services aggressively to undercut the big players, MTN and Vodacom. Both parties were keen to say that the new joint venture is unaffected by British cable firm NTL’s bid to buy Virgin Mobile Holdings (UK) which is 72% owned by Branson’s Virgin Group.