Om waxes on about the hard times the MVNO's are having. Well it's their own doing mostly.
Right now there are something like 13 or so MVNOs either live or about to launch, and for the most part they all offer the same thing. Phone service and some customized content.
Helio is trying to offer some better phones, but that's not what makes it really different. I mean, add a button, change the shape, but the phone is still a phone.
Where all these guys are missing it is with regard to the concept of Fixed Mobile Convergence and the ability to switch over to an IP network seamlessly. That means the data (i.e. the sports videos on ESPN, the kid video content on Disney, etc.) can be downloaded in the background at WiFi speeds, not on the anemic circuit switched 1XRTT or even somewhat sputtering EvDO that is currently out there on Verizon and Sprint, or the very pathetic EDGE from Cingular.
Add in that once you hop over to WiFi that current technology exists to let you keep your same number but receive and make calls over IP, and carriers would have the ability to sell broadband, plus a complete bundle of hardware and added minutes. One number. One device. Now wouldn't that be Nirvana....
But as pal Tom Carter, the founder of BridgePort Networks says, "someone has to be the first to break ranks," something I agree with completely. Until that occurs the MVNO's will still be offering only their own content, but not much else in the way of differentiation, other than who gets to bill the consumer.