Helio seen on the ropes: and I saw it coming

I readily admit that when I get into "I told you so" mode, I am not all that charming.But sometimes the facts call for it.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor

I readily admit that when I get into "I told you so" mode, I am not all that charming.

But sometimes the facts call for it.

Like this morning when fellow blogger Andy Abramson cites press reports that indicates that EarthLink and SK Telecom's mobile Helio offering is bleeding cash and may be on the ropes.

Andy's main thesis is that MVNOs just aren't a great idea for U.S. markets. He then writes:

Beyond some very cool phones, Helio is still not offering too much in the way of "me different" that would cause a subscriber of Verizon or Sprint to switch. Their pricing plans are great, but the original promise by the company of what Helio would be (i.e. SK Telecom here in the USA) has not really been achieved. The prospect of what real high speed (up to 2 megabit) mobile data can mean is very enticing, but it will be a few years here in the USA before that is happening on the networks the way it does in South Korea.

What's more Helio wanted to go after the college and Asian markets originally, but seems to have become too much of a "me too" player vs. Amped, Boost and Virgin Mobile here in the USA. The lack of differentiation in market positioning, on store shelves. Their sharp and clever PR efforts aside, Helio is just not getting enough traction, and Earthlink, with a cash drain and other initiatives that need support may have to think hard about putting more money in unless it is part of a roll up strategy.

Andy's prescient observations seem to be in line with what I wrote on February 7. In my post entitled: "You say Helio, and I say goodbye," I wrote in part:


In this environment where mainstream cell carriers will spare no expense to get their marketing and content propositions on any advertising media- mainstream or niche- that youthful eyeballs might encounter, how much chance does Helio really have to break out of niche player status?

Lesson 1: you can't market niche platforms and services in a conventional manner.

And sorry, I just don't see the virality here yet. Yea, sounds like a Stephen Colbert word, but I think that applies.

Prediction: unless things change, I believe Helio will be purchased by a major telecom. Then, they will integrate it as a niche app or perhaps, as an added suite of services.

 That's my opine, and I'm stickin' to it.

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