If you’ve been around wireless for a while, you’re likely aware of Helio, an MVNO that operated on Sprint’s network back in 2006. Helio was merged into Virgin Mobile in the US a few years later, but now the MVNO is back.
Helio today announced its return as an MVNO that operates on Sprint’s network, just like before, but now it’s got a roaming agreement with Verizon Wireless. The MVNO offers a rate plan that costs $29 for 30 days of service, and that’ll get you unlimited talk and text (including international texting) as well as unlimited data. However, it’s worth noting that data speeds are capped at 128kbps. It’s unclear when or if Helio will offer faster data speeds.
To give new customers a chance to try Helio before really committing to it, the MVNO says that you’ll get your first month of service for free.
On the hardware side of things, you’ve got two options with Helio. You can buy a phone from them, with options that include a Galaxy S4 for $299, Galaxy S III for $249, Galaxy Epic 4G for $49, or a Kyocera Kona flip phone for $89. You’ve also got the option of bringing your own phone to the service, but only devices compatible with Sprint, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and Assurance Wireless can be used on Helio.
It’s kind of crazy to see the Helio brand come back, and the MVNO’s return is sure to bring some nostalgia feels to anyone that’s been interested in mobile for a long time. However, this new Helio should offer better service than the old Helio thanks to its Verizon roaming capabilities, and its BYOD support means that you can bring a shiny new piece of hardware if you want. The data speeds might be a bit of a bummer to some, but if you want some super-cheap service, Helio could be worth a look.