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SK Telecom to Continue Funding Helio; EarthLink Accepts Diluted Share

American internet service provider, EarthLink Inc., confirmed on Wednesday that it will not invest any more money in wireless joint venture, Helio, leaving its partner, South Korea Telecom to fund the joint venture for the foreseeable future.

SK Telecom apparently plans to invest up to an additional $270 million in Helio, diluting EarthLink’s 50% share in the startup, but leaving it with a significant minority stake.

“This new agreement enables EarthLink to retain a substantial ownership position in Helio without investing any more cash into the joint venture, and these changes should result in our prior investment having real future value as the joint venture continues to grow,” commented EarthLink president and CEO, Rolla P. Huff.

EarthLink retains the right to make additional investments in Helio if and when its own finances improve. If it chooses not to invest further in the venture, and SK Telecom injects the full $270 million, EarthLink will be left with a stake of about 22%.

EarthLink has agreed to relinquish one Helio board seat as part of the deal, giving SK Telecom effective control of the company.

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December 11, 2007 Posted by | Business, Cell Phones, Corporate, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , , | Leave a comment

50 Wireless Subscriptions per 100 People, Says Informa Report

There are now approximately 3.3 billion active mobile phone connections worldwide, enough to cover half the global population, according to new data from Informa Telecoms and Media.

Wireless subscriptions have increased 18% in the past year, from 2.8 billion in late 2006, as a growing number of people buy handsets in emerging markets like India and China. The Indian market alone is expected to achieve penetration of over 40% within the next few years, up from just 13% at the beginning of 2007.

It took 19 years – from the launch of the first commercial wireless network in 1981 until 2000 – for mobile phone subscriptions to reach 10% penetration worldwide, and just 12 months to grow from 40% to 50%, representing the remarkable growth that has occurred this year.

Informa believes that it will take longer reach further wireless market milestones, however, now that developed cell phone markets in Europe and North America have largely matured. The research firm predicts that 60% global penetration won’t be achieved until 2009, and 66% isn’t likely to happen until 2012.

December 5, 2007 Posted by | Cell Phones, Telecom Services, Wireless | , , | Leave a comment