As a former Helio Ocean owner, it’s a sad day for me because Virgin Mobile USA said it would be cutting off its postpaid services.
The prepaid provider had purchased the tattered remains of Helio in 2008 because it was really cheap to do so, and it wanted to have more postpaid users. Sprint bought Virgin last year for its success in the prepaid market, so there is now no need for Virgin to have its own postpaid subscribers. Virgin said its postpaid service would end May 25 and these customers would be given incentive to switch to Sprint.
“Current postpaid customers are being given $50 towards the purchase of a Sprint postpaid handset with a new two-year agreement,” Virgin Mobile said in a statement. “This credit is in addition to any applicable rebates that may apply. Postpaid customers moving from Virgin Mobile to Sprint will also receive $150 off of handsets as part of Sprint’s standing new customer offer. Activation fees will also be waived.”
For those who don’t remember, Helio was a joint venture between SK Telecom and Earthlink that was supposed to bring 3G goodness to the United States. They had decent all-you-can-eat data plans and I thought the Ocean was cool beans. Unfortunately, the MVNO business proved to be a joke and Apple’s iPhone essentially killed any chance Helio had.