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Helium Mobile takes DeWi nationwide with $20 mobile plan

Helium Mobile's Boris Renski joins the podcast to explain how the decentralized wireless company plans to scale nationwide with a new unlimited data plan for $20 per month.

At a Glance

  • Helium Mobile's new nationwide $20 per month unlimited data plan (07:23)
  • How the Helium Mobile network could scale nationally (09:25)
  • How Helium's approach to customer support differs from larger carriers (19:37)

Decentralized wireless (DeWi) company Helium Mobile just launched a new $20 per month unlimited data plan. The company is part of what Boris Renski, GM of Wireless at Nova Labs, calls the "hybrid networks trend" where a wireless operator aggregates its network infrastructure from multiple sources.

One type of hybrid network is "Google Fi, which has historically relied on multiple carriers to deliver services to their consumers," Renski says during the podcast. "Or it can even be different types of radio technology, which is common among some of the cable operators such as Xfinity Mobile or Spectrum. They aggregate a network of Wi-Fi access points and cellular radios and then sell that as a single consumer service."

In addition to his role at Nova Labs, parent company of Helium Mobile, Renski is also co-founder of FreedomFi, a company that develops software for "crowdsourced 5G networks." FreedomFi was acquired by Nova Labs in August 2022.

For its macro network, Helium is utilizing T-Mobile's 5G network. Renski says that Helium is also expanding its independent network of cellular radios and Wi-Fi access points and currently has over 10,000 hotspots deployed nationally.

In August, Helium launched a pilot Wi-Fi hotspot in Miami to provide customers with $5 a month subscriptions for unlimited data. Renski says the new $20 per month plan will be available nationwide. 

Related:Helium looks to prove DeWi model with $5/month mobile plan

Click on the caption button for a lightly edited transcript.

Here are a few topics we cover:

  • Background on Helium Mobile (02:31)

  • Helium Mobile's new nationwide $20 per month unlimited data plan (07:23)

  • How the Helium Mobile network could scale nationally (09:25)

  • Process of adding more Helium hotspots (13:11)

  • How Helium's approach to customer support differs from larger carriers (19:37)

  • Recap of Helium's new $20 plan (24:41)

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

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