updated 02:35 pm EDT, Fri September 21, 2007
Helio 270m Infusion
Helio today announced that it had received a tentative agreement from Korean cell provider SK Telecom to provide as much as $270 million for its business, giving the mobile virtual network operator enough money to run without worrying about a financial investment from Earthlink, SK Telecom's joint partner in Helio. The added funds will be used to help develop Helio's data-centric phone service, which relies primarily on 3G Internet access over EVDO for GPS, messaging, and video streaming. The specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, though EarthLink revealed that the cash did not mean that SK Telecom was taking over from its American partner.
"Helio will be able to move forward with its innovative business plan without the need for further investment by EarthLink," said EarthLink chief Rolla Huff, "while continuing to allow our company to have a substantial ownership interest in Helio's future."
Although Helio is still relatively small at roughly 130,000 subscribers, the company is said to have enjoyed above-average success compared to larger carriers such as Sprint, whose network it shares for service. The company primarily targets a younger audience and focuses on its data plans as an advantage over traditional carriers.