Helio, which was folded into Virgin Mobile in 2008 and completely halted all of its operations two years later in 2010, has quietly made a return to the wireless market. But don’t call it a comeback.
Helio is now backed by a company called UBI, and thanks to that backing the wireless MVNO is able to launch prepaid plans that are available via both Sprint’s and Verizon’s networks. Specifically, Helio will function primarily on Sprint’s networks — and handsets need to have Sprint network support — but the prepaid carrier has roaming agreements in place with Verizon Wireless, so subscribers will have greater access while out in the wild.
The basic plan starts at $29 per month, and that includes unlimited calling, unlimited texts (including international messages), and unlimited 2G data — which is capped at 128Kbps. Whether or not the carrier will offer 3G or 4G data at some point down the road isn’t known at this time. As far as devices go, Helio has the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 listed on its site, for $249 and $299 respectively.
Otherwise, subscribers can bring their own devices as long as they’re Sprint supported. Helio will have its own-branded devices available at some point in the future as well.