Jun 21, 2017

Richard Branson helps Sprint relaunch Virgin Mobile as iPhone-only brand

Sprint is trying to remake its Virgin Mobile prepaid brand, focusing on the iPhone and perks tied to the broader Virgin brand, including discounts on Virgin airlines, hotels and wines. The company announced plans for a new "Inner Circle" offering that offers those who buy an iPhone six months of wireless service for just $1 (and an additional six months free for those who sign up by July 31.)

Virgin Group head Richard Branson was on hand at an event in San Francisco where Sprint announced the move.

"We're committed to innovating," Branson said, rattling off a list of Virgin's current efforts ranging from electric race cars to space travel. Branson said he challenged Sprint two years ago to make better use of the Virgin brand and is pleased to see the company doing so.

Why it matters: Sprint has been looking for some time to reposition Virgin, one of two prepaid brands it has. (It also sells service under the Boost Mobile moniker.) Competition in that space has been tough since T-Mobile bought MetroPCS and AT&T purchased Cricket, not to mention just generally brutal price pressure in the cell phone market.

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O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World