Helium, Building Out Mobile Network, Plans to Give Free Trials to Solana Phone Users

Nova Labs, the company behind Helium Network and a new crypto-powered cellular service called Helium Mobile, said it would provide SIM cards and free trials to customers of Solana Labs’ new Saga phones.

The companies declined to disclose financial details on the plan, which comes after Helium Network community members voted in September to ditch its own blockchain and migrate over to the larger Solana blockchain.

Under the agreement, Saga phones sold in the U.S. will get a 30-day free subscription to Helium Mobile, according to a press release. Saga phones are Solana’s flagship Android device, tightly integrated with the Solana blockchain.

The Helium Network is a decentralized grid of wireless hotspots that aims to provide an alternative to hard-wired internet or mobile data service. The services are powered by cryptocurrencies; people who participate in the network receive rewards for doing so.

Helium is incentivizing development of the 5G network by offering MOBILE tokens to users who deploy the 5G hotspots. This is similar to the company’s IoT crypto mining model, where users would earn HNT tokens for running hotspots.

Nova Labs has faced challenges trying to simultaneously build out two networks for “internet of things” connectivity and for mobile coverage. Helium Mobile, the cellular-focused service, isn’t expected to launch until the first quarter of 2023, and the company recently inked a five-year agreement with cellular giant T-Mobile to cover the anticipated dead spots.

“As we gear up to launch the world’s first cryptocarrier, our partnership will help bring low-cost, reliable and decentralized 5G coverage to Saga users across the U.S,” said Boris Renski, GM of Wireless for Nova Labs.