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Last call for Virgin Mobile

The cellular operator officially exits Singapore's market, where it had grabbed just 3 percent of the market since it launched service there last fall.

    Virgin Mobile, which first announced its intention to exit Singapore's in July, is officially ceasing its operations there Friday.

    The cellular operator has been functioning with 30 employees--down from 105 previously--in the last three months to ensure a smooth transition for its customers and business partners, spokeswoman Lauren Boulet said.

    "Seventeen people from the contact center will be released today and the remaining from IT and finance will stay until the end of this month," Boulet said.

    The island's fourth mobile phone operator debuted last October with much fanfare, sinking about $100 million into call centers and retail outlets, among other expenses. Virgin Mobile was equally owned by Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), the country's largest telecom and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

    Without disclosing specific figures, Boulet said a large proportion of its 30,000 customers have decided to migrate to SingTel.

    While its Singapore operations may have come to a halt, Virgin Mobile still harbors plans for the region. It is currently assessing opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, but Boulet added developments are contingent on potential network partners.

    Approximately 73 percent of Singapore's 4 million residents own a cell phone. Virgin Mobile merely skimmed the surface with 30,000 customers, compared with SingTel's 1.5 million subscribers.

    CNETAsia's Winston Chai reported from Singapore.