updated 04:25 pm EDT, Tue September 9, 2008
Helio by Virgin USA news
The purchase of the Helio mobile network provider by Virgin Mobile, which concluded on August 22, has resulted in Helio by Virgin Mobile, and the new company announced some changes on Tuesday. Contrary to previous reports, however, the Helios brand will continue to operate. The integration of the two have resulted in Virgin launching the Shuttle, its first handset that will support Helio's data-intensive services, including the Buddy Beacon that uses the integrated GPS to locate other users via a chat-like program. At the same time, the company announced that existing and new Helio subscriptions to the $80 A La Carte program will be upgraded to include unlimited minutes instead of the current 1,500 minutes.
The plan will be identical to Virgin Mobile's own Totally Unlimited pre-paid voice plan that costs the same amount. Virgin executives also took the opportunity during the announcement to say current Helio devices that offer data services over the 3G network will continue to be offered, and hint that the near future may see more crossover benefits such as these. Virgin Mobile has always offered pre-paid plans, while Helio has post-paid subscribers, but the individual customer care services and sales operations will merge in the a few months.