What just happened? Virgin Mobile in an updated FAQ this week quietly revealed intentions to discontinue service and transfer all accounts to sister brand Boost Mobile. Those paying close attention to Virgin Mobile USA over the past several months, however, have seen the writing on the wall for some time now.

In an e-mailed statement to FierceWireless, a Sprint spokesperson said they will be consolidating the two brands under one cohesive, efficient and effective prepaid team. The transition is expected to begin during the week of February 2, the spokesperson added.

The FAQ notes that customers will keep their existing phone numbers and that monthly payment dates will persist so long as the bill is paid on time. Worth noting is the fact that PayPal is being removed as a registered payment method meaning anyone who uses this method will need to set up a new payment method and re-enroll in Autopay if applicable.

Back in November, Wave7 Research analyst Jeff More told FierceWireless that it had been 31 months since Virgin changed its rate card and hadn't pushed out a new press release in roughly 19 months.

"I don't think anyone knows how severely in decline Virgin is," Moore said at the time. "There's been no energy put into Virgin over the last several years. Virgin is a dying lemon on the vine."

Sprint acquired Virgin Mobile in late 2009 as a key part of its prepaid strategy but over time, the carrier elected to focus more on its Boost Mobile subsidiary. Virgin more or less fell by the wayside, especially after the carrier went iPhone-only. With the pending Sprint / T-Mobile merger being finalized, this is likely the last we will hear of Virgin.

Masthead credit: Virgin Mobile by TK Kurikawa