We must have touched a nerve yesterday when we said Helio might be the next MVNO to fall, now that Mobile ESPN is closing shop. The Helio folks wrote us a long note explaining why they’re not going to follow Mobile ESPN into the darkness, and how Helio is better positioned than other MVNOs.
“It’s easy to get discouraged when something like ESPN happens, but don’t think that a poor execution inherently means a poor business model. While we haven’t given any numbers, Helio has done quite well. ARPU is more than $100 (better than anyone) and the vast majority (over 75%) of members are on All-In (unlimited data and messaging) plans,” writes Justin Ried, Sr. Manager, Marketing and Communications for Helio.
Of course the company had no subscriber numbers and said it would release them “in good time.”
Ried also gave us some details on Helio’s future WiFi plans, and said that the company will launch the Hybrid product next week, which he describes as an EVDO card that works in conjunction with a laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi equipment and includes client software that manages the connections and switches between LAN & WAN networks.
Ried describes the Hybrid product as an opportunity for Helio to see how members use EV-DO and Wi-Fi together in anticipation of our converged devices coming out next year. “Think about how much of an opportunity VoIP is to a company like Helio. Not having to pay Sprint or Verizon for that voice traffic is one thing, new service development is another.”
Helio’s converged technology plans will definitely be interesting to watch, though we’re still not convinced they’ll get the subscriber numbers they want.