Earlier this week, we heard rumors that Virgin Mobile was going to buy Helio. Those rumors have now come to fruition. Sir Richard Branson is getting his way, because Virgin Mobile has just announced that it will be acquiring Helio.
All of the 170,000 customers who are currently subscribed to Helio will be absorbed into the larger Virgin Mobile network (which is operating on the Sprint CDMA network). The deal will cost Virgin Mobile a total of about $39 million, paying out to SK Telecom of Korea and Earthlink Communications of the US. Those were the two firms, in case you didn’t know, who were backing up the Helio brand. SK will have two seats on the new board of directors and will retain a 17% stake in the new Virgin Mobile company.
With the acquisition of Helio, Virgin Mobile USA is now looking into entering the postpaid market, as well as continuing with the prepaid and hybrid thing. Helio’s extra voice and data volume will also allow the new company to pay a lower rate to Sprint for using the latter’s host network.