A couple of months ago I posted a query in my 411 column about prepaid GSM Android phones and the lack thereof. What I failed to mention was that you can of course use any GSM phone as a prepaid handset, as long as you're willing to pay full price for the phone up front. All you have to do is pop in a SIM card and you're good to go. After you do so, however, AT&T continues to charge you the usual high monthly rates, and even though T-Mobile does offer a cheaper Even More … Read more
Considering many MVNOs have failed or been acquired in recent years (Helio, Disney Mobile, Virgin Mobile, just to name a few), we can't help but think they're a bad idea. (MVNOs are Mobile Virtual Network Operators that sell their own service plans and handsets, but piggyback on another carrier's network). Still, that apparently hasn't stopped Japan's NTT DoCoMo from thinking about starting one up in the U.S.
Indeed, it seems that the Japanese company is contemplating leasing capacity from either T-Mobile USA or AT&T. While we can't imagine it'll make … Read more
Virgin Mobile USA and Helio have confirmed that they are in early stages of talks to merge the companies.
On Tuesday Virgin Mobile issued a statement that the two companies were in talks, and a Helio spokesman confirmed the news. The company has been rumored to be in talks over a merger since last week.
"These discussions are in early stages and there are no assurances that any transaction will result," Rick Heineman, a spokesman for Helio said in an email. "We will not have additional comments unless an agreement is reached."
Virgin Mobile USA and … Read more
Virtual cell phone operators Virgin Mobile USA and Helio are rumored to be in merger talks, a move that could bring a lot of benefits to both companies.
The tie-up between the two MVNOs, or mobile virtual network operators, was first reported Thursday by the wireless blog MocoNews. According to the blog, SK Telecom, one of Helio's parent companies, would buy out Virgin Mobile USA and then Virgin Mobile would buy Helio in an all-stock transaction.
As the economy tightens and other larger wireless carriers look to consolidate, it makes sense for these smaller players, who essentially resell service … Read more
We first heard of Kajeet at CTIA last year--it's a mobile virtual network operator targeted toward families, especially those with tweens. In the wake of family-focused MVNOs getting the boot (Disney Mobile was shut down late last year, for example), it's interesting to see Kajeet still going strong. Today, Kajeet just introduced a new GPS Phone Locator service, which lets you use satellite technology to track down your child's location via Web-based maps. Parents can even schedule automatic location checks at certain times of the day. This also makes Kajeet the only prepaid carrier in the country … Read more
Sky Dayton, the founder and CEO of Helio, is stepping down as the top executive of the hip cell phone company.
The company sent out a press release late Monday saying that Dayton, who also founded the Internet service provider EarthLink and Wi-Fi hotspot provider Boingo, would relinquish his CEO position. Wonhee Sull, formerly Helio's president and chief operating officer, will take over as CEO. And Dayton will become chairman of the company, replacing Jinwoo So, president of global business at SK Telecom.
The Walt Disney Co. pulled the plug Thursday on its Disney Mobile phone service.
Disney said the service will no longer be available after December 31, but it might offer some of the specially designed software and applications through another wireless operator.
Disney came on the mobile scene about 18 months ago with a special phone service designed to disseminate its content and create a slew of applications designed for parents and families. Its Family Center allows parents to track their kids and limit how and when they can use their phones. It also allows parents to set spending limits … Read more
Internet service provider EarthLink said Tuesday that it would lay off approximately 900 employees as the company restructures in an attempt to boost its sagging stock price.
EarthLink will lose about half its staff in the restructuring as it shuts down operations in Orlando, Fla.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Harrisburg, Pa., and San Francisco. It will also substantially reduce its presence in Pasadena, Calif., and Atlanta, the company said in a press release Tuesday.
The reductions are expected to cost the company $60 million to $70 million. But it will save EarthLink $25 million to $35 million through the remainder of 2007, … Read more
So it finally happened--Amp'd Mobile has shuttered its doors to the world (or at least it's close to doing so). Along with a handy FAQ on its site on how to handle the transition, it appears that Amp'd Mobile is also attempting to bridge a move to Prexar Mobile, which is USA Telephone's mobile division. Prexar Mobile has apparently bought out certain portions of Amp'd Mobile, prompting the customer switch. Former Amp'd customers can keep their phones and numbers, and they'll want to switch over to one of Prexar's voice plans, … Read more
It seems like Amp'd Mobile customers received a good-bye message earlier today, indicating that the carrier may be shutting down its operation no later than 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning. Even though the company filed for bankruptcy protection in June, it looks like the end is nigh for the MVNO targeting the young and urban. There's a very handy Q&A page on Amp'd Mobile's site that lists options for existing customers (How do I port my number, and so forth). So if you're an Amp'd Mobile customer, you should definitely check … Read more