from the or-will-they-rise-again? dept
The second generation of MVNOs were supposed to be different however. Names like Amp'd and Helio weren't building on existing brands, but planned to build up huge new brands by themselves, and would do so by focusing on the high end, offering all sorts of neat phones, applications and services that the big mobile operators were afraid to offer. Actually, the reality was that the big mobile phone operators knew enough to recognize that people just didn't want those things, which is why they weren't offered. Amp'd flamed out spectacularly, burning through $360 million and attracting a negligible number of customers.
And, now, Helio has basically given up the ghost as well, selling off to Virgin Mobile -- about the only mobile phone MVNO that has managed to hang in there. From the sound of it, Virgin basically was doing a favor to Helio, to make its initial backers (Earthlink and SK Telecom) save a little face, rather than just shutting down the service.
So, with this, can we officially declare the era of the MVNO over? Or will we see breathless reports a year or two from now from new analysts in the space claiming a great new market in "branded" mobile phone services?