Sprint Nextel Corp. has just announced that it plans on buying Virgin Mobile USA for about $483 million. This deal will open the low end prepaid market to Sprint, who already owns 13.1% of Virgin Mobile.



Palm Pre’s exclusive carrier also plans on paying Virgin Mobile’s debt, estimated at $205 million by September 30 and all of these positive news made the acquired company’s shares jump 23%. Analysts are pretty stunned by this move, specially since Sprint already has a prepaid unit, Boost that offers unlimited calls with prepaid options.

It’s very likely that the States’ third carrier has issues with its postpaid biz and we’re really curious to see its quarterly reports that will see the light of day tomorrow. Also, we found out via Reuters that Sprint will manage Boost and Virgin Mobile separately, as two prepaid brands with their own CEOs, reporting to the main man, Dan Hesse.

[via Reuters]

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