The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Virgin Mobile’s entry into the Canadian market could be the needed spark to spur the emergence of similar branded offerings, but analysts don’t believe this to be true, and for good reason (read article here). There are structural differences between the wireless markets in the United Kingdom and Canada. In the U.K. the pre-paid and youth market was traditionally underserved, creating an opportunity for Virgin Mobile to gain a toehold in the market. It’s arguable that no such opportunity exists here.   The Canadian wireless marketplace is highly competitive as it is, with little room for other brands to make their plays for market share. As Peter Rhamey from BMO Nesbitt Burns tells Report on Wireless, it would make more sense for a company seeking greater exposure in the wireless game to do a branding agreement with one of the existing carriers rather than making the investment in a non-core business to kickstart a wireless unit. That doesn’t mean Virgin Mobile Canada won’t be successful, and no one should underestimate the business savvy of Sir Richard Branson. Some estimate that his new venture will be able to capture between 100,000 and 175,000 net subscribers in its first two years of operation. If the Bell Mobility-Virgin Mobile venture is to be successful, it will likely come at the expense of the other three operators, with Microcell Telecommunications Inc. likely bearing the brunt of greater competition. Bell is seen suffering the least by analysts, since its strength isn’t in the pre-paid market. Besides, Bell would never enter into an agreement that could potentially cause erosion to its existing subscriber base. Microcell has done a good job of addressing the pre-paid and youth market through its no-hassle, no-contract offers, but this is Virgin Mobile’s traditional sweet spot. While it’s unclear at this point how Virgin Mobile Canada will attack the market, it will likely employ a strategy similar to that previously used in the U.K. and the U.S., meaning Microcell could be in jeopardy of seeing an increase in pre-paid churn. How will Microcell react and will it fight Virgin Mobile for the pre-paid youth market? Or will it continue to de-emphasize the pre-paid segment in favour of higher-value customers? Only time will tell whether the country’s smallest operator can afford to do both.