Helio Lures Customers With Trade-Ins

Los Angeles-based MVNO Helio is looking to attract new customers to its youth-oriented cell phone service with a new trade-in program. The firm yesterday rolled out a new program offering cash for cell phones, PDAs, and music players from new subscribers. The Helio Trade-Up Program is the latest move by an MVNO to drum up membership, and comes on the heels of a report today in the Wall Street Journal that cell phone startups using TV, music, and other premium services to attract users are floundering. The WSJ reports that Amp'd Mobile, another Los Angeles MVNO startup, signed up fewer than 10,000 subscribers in its first five months, despite huge venture capital investments. Helio's program, which is being managed by Market Velocity, offers a rebate check to users who sign up and send in their old electronics equipment.