Helio LLC, a joint venture between EarthLink Inc. and South Korea’s SK Telecom Co., has tapped Yahoo! Inc. to give customers access to services from any mobile phone.
Gearing up to launch the mobile service in spring 2006, Helio officials said Thursday the company will offer Yahoo services, such as Search, Mail, Messenger, News, and Sports.
Search will give customers one-click access to the mobile Web, local, and image content with music, videos, and games.
Information on local restaurants, movie times, sports scores, weather, and stock quotes are available, too. The service will let subscribers search on a word by typing in the term just as if they were dialing a phone number.
Helio users can reply, forward, delete and move mail messages to folders, as well as add, edit or delete contacts in their Yahoo! Address Book. Instant message will provide access to a friends' list and the ability to send and receive messages.
Ironically, Helio has yet to launch mobile services, but has already lined-up several strategic partnerships. In February, Helio reported an agreement with MySpace.com to offer social-networking features on its mobile phone service.
When Helio's services launch, they will let users take self-portraits and post them to MySpace.com, as well as create Web-log entries to send friends messages.
Prices for phones and service have not been announced, but Helio said customers will have free access to MySpace.com.
Helio will serve the U.S. market as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), which sells phones and service plans similar to mobile network operators, but which doesn't own cell towers and spectrums. Rather, MVNOs lease the equipment from companies that do, creating virtual network carriers.
EarthLink and SK Telecom are investing $440 million in Helio over the next three years.