Helio: Shifting Gears?
Posted by: Olga Kharif on November 15, 2007
It appears that Helio, the money-losing wireless service started by SK Telecom and EarthLink, is changing its market tactics.
After targeting the high-end of the wireless market for 1-1/2 years, and gaining 130,000 customers by August, Helio may be slowly inching down its prices. This holiday season, it’s offering a $50 discount on all of its handsets. And its wireless plan prices appear to have gone down: The cheapest family plan can be had for $60. An unlimited voice and data plan sells for $99 with a two-year contract, which is almost on par with mainstream wireless carriers’ offerings.
Frankly, this was to be expected. While, when Helio launched in 2006, many of its multimedia data services — video clips, mobile social networking features — were a rarity, they are that no more. Nowadays, AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer tons of compelling mobile content and applications. And while Helio may still attempt to differentiate through its exclusive handsets, it can’t beat AT&T’s exclusive iPhone.
All that means that Helio, which lost more than $93 million in the third quarter alone, can no longer justify higher prices.