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Sprint is shutting down Virgin Mobile

Customers will be transferred to Boost Mobile starting in February.

Josh Miller/CNET

Sprint is pulling the plug on its prepaid service Virgin Mobile. Starting in February, customers will be transferred to another Sprint prepaid service, Boost Mobile. Most customers should expect to keep their same phone and phone number, according to an FAQ on the Virgin Mobile site

A spokeswoman for Sprint said most customers will "receive a comparable or better Boost Mobile service plan with no extra cost." The FAQ does note that customers using PayPal to pay for mobile service will need to pick another method, such as a debit or credit card, since it's not a supported option for Boost Mobile.

"We regularly examine our plans to ensure that we're offering the best services in line with our customer needs," the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement Wednesday. "Beginning on the week of Feb. 2, we will be moving Virgin Mobile customer accounts to our sister brand Boost Mobile -- consolidating the brands under one cohesive, efficient and effective prepaid team."

The move, reported earlier by Fierce Wireless, comes as Sprint and T-Mobile await the outcome of an effort to stop their $26 billion merger. The merger, announced in 2018, has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice. Part of the deal includes the agreement that Sprint and T-Mobile will sell Sprint's prepaid services -- Boost MobileVirgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid -- to Dish Network. But the merger could still be derailed by a lawsuit filed by a group of state attorneys general seeking to stop it

two-week trial in federal court in New York started in December. Closing arguments from both sides are scheduled for Jan. 15. If the merger is allowed to go through, the combined company would be roughly equal in size to AT&T and to Verizon Communications, the nation's two largest wireless carriers. 

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Originally published Jan. 8, 6:19 a.m. PT.
Update, 7:29 a.m.: Adds comment from Sprint.