We’ve heard weirder rumors about the future of Helio, our favorite MVNO, but this one’s got some interesting aspects to it. The buzz is that Virgin Mobile is looking to pick up Helio and merge the services, and in some ways the idea makes sense.
Virgin is the leading MVNO for low-end handsets. They sell utilitarian phones and services to people who just make calls. You can buy their gear at 7/11. What it doesn’t have is a high-end or smartphone product line for sophisticated users.
Helio is all high-end, with data-centric handsets and interactive features for power users. What it doesn’t have are low-end offerings or good distribution.
Thus, they would be a good match. But will it happen? SK Telecom still owns Helio and has the cash to keep it afloat as long as it wants, but it can’t buy Helio’s way into the stores. So will the merger happen? We’ll see, but don’t count it out, it’s an interesting idea from many angles.