Pam Duffey, telecoms analyst at Visiongain, believes that Apple will design and brand its own mobile phone and that this handset will launch with upstart MVNO Helio. Helio is the partnership between Earthlink and SK Telecom that aims to bring high-tech Korean phone technology and services to US consumers.
"There exists a relationship between Apple and Helio management that goes back to the ROKR iTunes phone, and Helio has declared a target audience identical to iPod's existing market. Helio's top rank executives have also publicly voiced frustration with mainstream carriers and appear to be on a crusade to radically shake-up the industry," adds Duffey.
Helio announced its first two phones last month, both are quite similar in terms of features. The carrier expects to begin service this Spring.
(Image by way of Business 2.0's April issue, see cover story.)