Another string for Virgin’s bow

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Table football, plush red leather couches, mini fridges, youthful jean-clad staff; Virgin Mobile’s London headquarters hardly seems an appropriate venue for at-length number crunching and board meetings; the kinds of serious financial activity networks engage in.

Instead it has the feel of a trendy London media company – home to the kinds of fun, brash work pursuits and brainstorming sessions networks want to engage in, and to appear to engage in.

Of course, the informal vibe is a legacy of its founders, Richard Branson and current Orange UK boss Tom Alexander. But it also fits with the image its new parent, Virgin Media, is looking to purvey as a multi-play super utility pipe.

Former 3 UK marketing director Graeme Oxby (pictured) has been in the hot seat at the UK’s biggest, longest running MVNO for more than a year now and has helped mould the business into a credible consumer contract competitor and SIM-only market leader. He has also, more recently, led it towards the mobile broadband and data sectors.

“We weren’t really in the contract market when I joined. We’d had a bit of a presence since 2005, but hadn’t really sold very many,” says Oxby.

“There was clearly an opportunity there. When the market is big anyway, and prepay customers are showing more signs of taking on contracts, you have to be in that market, so we revamped all of our contract tariffs.

“More interesting, I think, was when we opened up the SIM-only category; we have done very nicely there.”

Full article in Mobile News issue 426 (November 3, 2008).

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