It seems like the only way for virtual mobile operators (MVNOs) to get any news today is by shutting down. Amp’d, the high-flying mobile operator, is powering down on July 24. Or to be more accurate, they are “potentially suspending US operations on July 24th.” I guess TechCrunch could be suspending U.S. operations on July 24, too, but we wouldn’t be posting that unless we thought it was pretty certain to be happening. The company has been going through bankruptcy but it was not certain they would be shutting down until now.
Meanwhile competitor Helio, which entered the market at about the same time as Amp’d, keeps on surging. Last week they announced that they reached 100,000 customers and have ARPU (average revenue per user) of $100 – way above the average for mobile startups.
A lot of Helio’s success can be attributed to their new Ocean, a killer dual-slider phone. I actually considered using the Ocean over the iPhone because it has a keyboard and great instant messaging support, but it doesn’t sync with Macs.