Virgin Mobile eyes youth market in bid to crack Latin America


MVNO to spend $300 million on expansion into region; Chile, Colombia launches due this year.

U.K.-based MVNO Virgin Mobile has revealed that it plans to establish a foothold in Latin America by targeting the youth market, reported Bloomberg this week.
“When you have a high [mobile] penetration, the challenge for a big network operator is to be all things to all people,” said Virgin Mobile chief executive Peter Macnee, in the report on Wednesday. “So when they partner with someone like us, we focus on one thing: We focus on the youth.”
Macnee said Virgin Mobile will make use of social media to attract a younger audience, and has also established a marketing partnership with Colombia’s Cine Colombia theatre chain.
The strategy is part of a plan Virgin Mobile unveiled in June 2011 to invest $300 million over five years to expand into Latin America in partnership with Tribe Mobile, an MVNO focused on addressing markets in the Middle East and Africa. Services are due to launch in Chile and Colombia in 2012, followed by Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru.
Virgin Mobile confirmed in October last year an agreement with Telefonica’s Movistar units in Colombia and Chile to lease mobile capacity for its virtual network.
“We are excited to have made such good progress towards launching mobile service in Latin America,” Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, said at the time. “This is an exciting project for Virgin, and we believe customers in the region, including Colombia, will be delighted by the services we will offer them.”