'Virgin Mobile worth £1.4 billion without selling a single phone'

Eye-popping ST headline

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Virgin Mobile is worth £1.36 billion and it hasn't sold one phone. Who is responsible for this ludicrous estimate? Look no further than broker Investec Henderson Crosthwaite, which bases its claim on sales projections up to the year 2009. That's right, 2009. This is the year that Virgin Mobile should have 3.65m customers. Oh, and 2002 is the year when Virgin Mobile moves into profit. "The aspirational Virgin brand is a particular threat to Orange," Chris Godsmark of Investec told an unusually credulous ST. Yeah, Right. In the UK, Virgin muddied its brand with its foray into trains. Let's see what happens to the brand, the first time, there's a Virgin plane or Virgin train crash Virgin Mobile launches next week. It is a joint venture between the Virgin Group and One2One, with Virgin providing the retail thump, and One2One supplying the difficult network stuff. Handsets will be more expensive than from other providers, but tariffs will be much cheaper - maybe 50 per cent lower, the ST says. Virgin will sell phones and airtime contracts through its 310 Our Price and Virgin Megastore shops, giving it the "largest high-street presence of any existing mobile company". And that makes Virgin Mobile worth £1.36 billion? ®

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