Could everyone's favorite MVNO be looking to merge with a less cool but bigger and badder MVNO? Could be.
Multiple media outlets have been reporting that Helio (everyone's fave, if you ask me) and Virgin Mobile USA (actually bigger and badder than Helio) are in talks to join forces. Details are a little bit sketchy right now, but one scenario described by The Washington Post has Helio's parent company SK Telecom buying out Virgin Mobile USA and then pouring some cash into the company to fund a VMUSA buyout of Helio. Whether or not that happens, several other potential investors have been mentioned as being sources of cash or even possible takeover bids for VMUSA. So this could all get complicated pretty quickly.
Helio and Virgin Mobile both operate on Sprint's CDMA network, though, so at least the technology part of things should be relatively painless. And despite their financial woes and customer service troubles, Helio's made a name for themselves by churning out some seriously cool handsets and services. So at the least, Virgin Mobile could benefit from Helio's tech and design expertise.
Who knows if this will actually go down, but the Washington Post did quote VMUSA CEO Dan Schulman as saying, "we believe that there are opportunities for us in terms of non-organic growth, such as another MVNO, or capability set that we might be able to avail ourselves of." So this rumor has some teeth to it at the least. We'll keep you posted.