Red Bull Mobile is -- for all intents and purposes -- dead.
That's right, another Vodafone MVNO has bit the dust, as Red Bull informs customers that it won't be taking new customers or allowing existing pre-paid customers to recharge as of Monday.
In possibly the most confusing closing statement on its website, Red Bull Mobile says of the closure:
With the prevalence of ‘open’ mobile platforms in Australia, Red Bull is taking this opportunity to focus its marketing efforts on existing and future digital assets to allow an even greater number of consumers to access the World of Red Bull through their own mobile device.
Whatever the hell that means.
Post-paid Red Bull Mobile customers will still be able to use their existing service until their contract expires, but they'll have to migrate off the network after that.
Red Bull Mobile also offered its customers a "ticket to Red Bull", including event access and merchandise opportunities. That will also continue until their contract expires.
Here's a handy FAQ if you're a customer of Red Bull Mobile:
What happens to the existing Red Bull MOBILE subscribers? Will there be a change in their benefits? The benefits remain for existing Red Bull MOBILE customers including access to Red Bull content (news, videos, TV, wallpapers, downloads) on the Red Bull MOBILE portal and they will still have exclusivity on the real ticket experienced to the World of Red Bull (WORB) (tickets to gigs, events and merchandise) up until the day their recharge or contract expires.
When will these changes apply? As of 1st July 2013, new customers will no longer be able to purchase pre-paid or post-paid tariff plans from Red Bull MOBILE.
Were the changes because of the tariffs or handset portfolio? Red Bull MOBILE was confident that its tariff plans were competitive in the market place. In 2013 Red Bull MOBILE shifted the focus away from handsets, towards a SIM only model, allowing the brand to consistently deliver the value in its tariffs.
Do existing Red Bull MOBILE customer benefits remain? Current Red Bull MOBILE exclusive customer benefits remain: Access to Red Bull content on the mobile portal (with no data charge) + real life Red Bull experiences (tickets to Red Bull events, Merchandise and gig tickets, to name a few).
Until what date can new customers subscribe to Red Bull MOBILE? Red Bull MOBILE post-paid and prepaid tariffs will be available to new customers until 30th June 2013. Pre-paid recharges that have already been purchased must be activated within their expiry period being 90 days from the date of purchase.
What services will be still available online on www.redbullmobile.com.au? The website will still include the benefits from the World of Red Bull (content and real world benefits, available to existing customers). All customer service related items will also remain on the website as well as information about the Red Bull MOBILE tariffs for Red Bull MOBILE’s current customer base.
We're still waiting to hear back from Red Bull Mobile about why it decided to close, but it's not a huge surprise given the fact that it was the last mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) left reselling the Vodafone network. We approached Vodafone for comment but we're still waiting for a response.
The last Vodafone reseller to have its doors unceremoniously shuttered was Crazy Johns in February. Several stores were folded into the Vodafone reseller network, but others were simply closed.
Red Bull Mobile's pricing structure was actually fairly competitive, but it was being offered on a network which -- at the time -- was still struggling from capacity issues and coverage dropouts. Since then, competitors like AldiMobile, Kogan Mobile and the re-invigorated Boost brand have risen up to usurp the cheap pre-paid throne.
Don't weep for Red Bull Mobile: it's not like choice of cheap pre-paid carriers dies with it.
Thanks to Warren for the tip on this one.