the last of the MVNO players folds its cards. Helio was sold to Virgin Mobile for $39M - in equity! SK Telecom and EarthLink spent over $275M to build this loser and gain a whopping 170K users. This number is amazing because I thought they were at 300K. This marks the end of the MVNO movement. A few CLEC's like Cbeyond have a cellular component but stand alone MVNO brands are gone.
MVNO is the new UNE-P offering. It didn't work for UNE-P after the TRRO decision and neither did the MVNO. Either the ILECs sell wholesale at a ridiculous rate or they sell at retail underwater.
There also was talk of SK Telecom, widely known to be interested in expanding its U.S. presence, buying Virgin Mobile and merging Helio into that brand. Instead, Virgin Mobile will take over Helio on its own, with SK Telecom and EarthLink each providing a $25 million strategic investment into Virgin Mobile. Through its holding of limited partnership units and preferred stock, SK Telecom will end up with a 17 percent ownership stake and two seats on the board. [phone+]
Even TechDirt calls MVNO case closed.