Bloomberg News

Virgin Mobile to Invest $300 Million to Enter Latin America

February 15, 2012

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Virgin Mobile, the cellular-phone unit of U.K. billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, plans to invest $300 million in Latin America over five years to become the region’s biggest mobile virtual network operator.

Virgin Mobile Latin America expects to begin offering service in Chile and Colombia this year before moving into Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Peru, the company’s chief executive officer, Peter Macnee, said in an interview in Bogota. Virgin will buy network space from other operators to avoid having to build its own infrastructure, Macnee said.

The company has an agreement to purchase network space from Telefonica SA’s Movistar unit in Colombia and has reached a marketing accord with Valorem SA’s Cine Colombia movie-theater unit, part of the holding company assembled by late Colombian billionaire Julio Mario Santo Domingo. Virgin will win subscribers with marketing that emphasizes customer service and uses social media to attract younger customers, Macnee said.

“When you have a high penetration, the challenge for a big network operator is to be all things to all people,” Macnee said. “So when they partner with someone like us, we focus on one thing. We focus on the youth.”

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--Editors: Brendan Walsh, Richard Richtmyer

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Schmidt in Bogota at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at

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