Helio discloses subscriber base for the first time

08 Feb 2007

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Helio said its youth-oriented cell phone service will reach 100,000 subscribers in April and that it is now generating monthly revenue at a rate exceeding $100 million per year.

The rare update on operating data came as Helio, a joint venture between EarthLink and Korea's SK Telecom, launched a music store offering wireless downloads for $1.99 per song.

It was the first time Helio has disclosed a customer tally.

Company CEO Sky Dayton said the company finished 2006 with about 70,000 customers and that subscriber growth has been accelerating.

'It's been ramping month after month,' said Dayton, who also founded EarthLink and the Wi-Fi service provider Boingo. 'I've been involved in a lot of startups, and to see that sort of velocity (in revenue) is very encouraging.'

Dayton declined to estimate how long or how many subscribers it would take to reach profitability.

The company also said its average revenue per user has remained in the $100 per month range it first disclosed in October. That amount is on par with another relatively new youth-focused cell service named Amp'd Mobile and roughly twice as large as the average monthly bill at Verizon Wireless and AT&T's Cingular Wireless, though those two companies boast roughly 60 million customers.

Similarly, Helio's revenue from non-phone services such as Internet usage, MySpace Mobile and video game downloads, has been holding steady at about $25 (€19.30) per user per month, or more than three times the industry average.

Helio, which began marketing last May, also said its users send and receive more than 400 text messages per month, a level it said was nearly seven times the industry average.

© 2007 The Associated Press

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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