If you can’t beat them, join them. And then consume them. And then absorb them into your own organization so that they don’t exist anymore. Rumors are flittering around (and they seem to be holding true) that Virgin Mobile is set to fully acquire Helio. Neither service provider has its own network, of course, but they do both operate on the Sprint network. A merger of sorts shouldn’t be too difficult.
I could be totally off the mark, but my impression is that during the initial stages of the acquisition, Helio and Virgin Mobile will continue to operate as semi-separate entities. As time goes on, however, Virgin Mobile will probably phase out the Helio brand until it doesn’t exist at all anymore. Don’t call them a phone company. Call them dead.
It will be interesting to see if Virgin Mobile will continue to offer Helio members those incredible “all-in” plans that the MVNO has been doing so far. At least you’ll still have MySpace Mobile.