SK Earthlink, a venture of SK Telecom and EarthLink Inc., announced that it has changed its name to Helio Inc. The name change is being done in a bid to lure young, tech-savvy consumers to a mobile phone service the company plans to start selling early next year.
Helio is not the only company hoping to make it big in the competitive US wireless market by renting space on existing network and targeting a niche market segment. It is also being eyed by companies such as Disney Corp. and privately-held Amp’d Mobile.
Helio’s chances of luring away customers from large players such as Cingular, Verizon and Sprint Nextel with presence in all age groups will entirely depend on how well its new services are targeted at youngsters, and what hot phones they can offer coming out of Korea.
Commenting on the issue Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester said “I have a reasonable level of confidence they have the right level of precision in their targeting. It’s more of a problem for Verizon, Cingular and Sprint because their focus is more broad.”
According to Sky Dayton Chief executive, Helio, the need to create new brand name arose in order to position itself as a service for young gadget-loving cell phone users who want the latest handsets. The parent companies — Earthlink, is an Internet service provider and SK, is the No. 1 South Korean mobile service provider.
The company wants to surge ahead of the competition posed by companies such as Disney and Amp’d by utilizing the experience of SK Telecom, which has been selling advanced high-speed mobile services since 2002 in Korea that are only now taking off in the U.S. market.
With $440 million in its kitty the company is expecting to have a customer base of 3 million users by 2009.
Helio is expected to launch its services in the spring of 2006. Their message is quite clear and appealing, let’s hope they keep their word.
“For years we’ve been waiting for the latest wireless technology.
We were promised cutting edge.
Instead we got to much fine print, confusing rate plans and cheap gimmicks.
We got low-end devices and uninspired ideas built for corporations by corporations.
It was time to do something.
So we decided to create a brand.
and Helio was born.”