updated 03:45 pm EDT, Tue August 15, 2006
Helio Opening Stores
Carrier-based retail stores are not a new concept; neither are the recent Nokia and Samsung stores that showcase the cellphones themselves. Helio, however, will likely be the very first MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) to have a retail presence of its own. The young provider says it plans to open its first store in Santa Monica during October, followed by others in San Diego, Palo Alto, Denver, and New York City. Without a physical infrastructure to support, Helio has shifted its emphasis to promoting its phones and the lifestyle associated with them. Each store will have an ultra-modern look (pictured) that resembles the airy, metal and glass look of many Apple stores. It will also formalize Apple's largely unrestricted store browsing through a lounge intended to draw in younger users who want to access the Internet and socialize.