“I actually feel like I'm part of the network rather than just a customer.”
- Jeremiah K.
When we announced we would build a new type of carrier that actually benefits its users, we meant it. “The Future of Mobile Is You” is more than a motto–it’s a mission to prioritize the needs of the user and prove to the carrier market there’s a viable model for success when you put users first. Together, we’re creating a revolution in wireless against the existing carrier monopoly and giving power back to the people. While Helium Mobile is the first carrier to believe that the future of mobile is you, we’re hopeful others will follow.
How do we know what users need? You told us. After dozens of interviews and feedback from over a thousand individuals we learned that you are excited to build a better carrier together, value becoming part of a community, and view joining an innovative tech movement as meaningful.
Another big insight: every person we spoke with highlighted coverage, privacy, or rewards as what’s most appealing about Helium Mobile.
Let’s discuss how these insights are helping shape Helium Mobile.
“I like that you guys are doing it the right way by partnering with one of the big telecom companies so you aren’t sacrificing coverage by switching. At the same time, there’s usage on the Helium 5G network and as people keep installing radios in their homes, coverage keeps getting better. It’s a win-win scenario.”
- Mauricio T.
Nationwide coverage has been touted by large wireless companies for years, but coverage gaps persist, especially in rural areas or inside homes. Even well-covered urban areas can experience significantly slower speeds when network traffic is high. Users are feeling the impact too: 59% of respondents reported their biggest frustration with their carrier is coverage dead spots.
Given the significant costs of the infrastructure required to alleviate these issues, wireless customers have little choice but to live with the current state of affairs or try their luck with another carrier.
Until now, that is.
Helium Mobile delivers dynamic coverage by providing access to a nationwide network, and the people-built Helium 5G network which is continuously growing thanks to the Helium community. This unique combination allows Helium Mobile to offer users more coverage than other carriers. When users are in range of people-built coverage, their phone seamlessly connects to the Helium 5G network and rewards the hotspot owner for the coverage they provide.
The Helium 5G network was rolled out in the summer of 2022 and has since grown to over 8,000 radios providing coverage in 49 of the 50 states. For the first time, people can come together as a community and improve coverage without relying on existing carriers, and those who build coverage are rewarded.
So let’s recap: Helium Mobile users get dynamic coverage that gives them access to nationwide and people-built networks, and people who build coverage on the Helium 5G network get rewarded for it. A win-win scenario indeed.
“When was the last time I ever got something from my carrier? Except for a bill, that is. It’s not so much that corporations are using me for my data, but the fact that I get nothing in return.”
- Nick B.
Our first blog described the vision behind Helium Mobile as a world where people benefit from the success of their mobile carrier.
We learned this vision highly resonates with users. In interviews, people described the extent to which their carrier does not have their best interest at heart, or unknowingly disclosing their personal data to a faceless organization (more on this later). We recognize that a deeper commitment to users is necessary to truly fulfill the vision we as a community believe in for the future of mobile, and rewards are a core part of that.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the respondents are most excited about the prospect of earning MOBILE tokens (68% of you, to be exact), but other rewards including plan discounts are also resonating. We are continuing to consider ways to expand rewards offerings beyond tokens as we build.
When Helium Mobile launches in Q2 later this year, users will earn rewards for helping build the network by verifying the location and efficacy of Helium 5G network coverage. Later they will also be able to help identify high traffic areas where coverage is lacking. Strengthening the network benefits the entire community, and we believe users should be rewarded for their work.
There are still details to finalize to make rewards a success, such as provisions against gaming, and a Helium Improvement Proposal ("HIP") to implement this program is currently in the drafting process.
“It seems ridiculous to me that I have to jump through hoops to opt out of my data being sold to people. I really just think that's creepy.”
- Christopher T.
When asked how the community views privacy today, 64% of you confirmed that your top concern is surrounding the sale of personal data, but perhaps what was even more significant is that 70% said having more control over how your personal data is handled would significantly improve the carrier market as a whole.
This desire for control is evidence of how powerless people feel in the current environment of mass data harvesting by their carrier. We’ve made a commitment that we won’t sell your data to third parties, but Helium Mobile isn’t just about our commitment to user privacy, but empowering users to take back control of their data.
One of the ways we are doing this is through transparency surrounding sharing of your location data. Mapping is important to the growth of the network and enables users to earn MOBILE tokens, but it also requires users to share location data with us. Instead of mandating location sharing and using the rewards structure to rationalize the decision, we are leaving the choice up to users: opt in to mapping (and location sharing) in exchange for MOBILE, or keep your location completely private. No jumping through hoops here.
Again, the implementation will require approval from the entire community, so keep an eye out for a HIP in the upcoming weeks.
Imagining a better-connected future
“It’s kind of like David and Goliath where Helium Mobile is smaller relative to the other big players in the market, but growing really fast and doing something very different than what these other companies can do. And to me, that's pretty exciting.”
- Mark K.
This is just the beginning of building towards a better connected future with you at the center by creating an innovative, alternative path that moves away from top-down monopolies. As we move forward with our mission, we’ll continue to rely on your suggestions and feedback to create a new type of carrier that prioritizes better coverage, more rewards, and next-level privacy.
The future of mobile is you, so what are you waiting for?
Methodology: Based on surveys and interviews conducted October 12, 2022 to March 7, 2023 among 1,882 adults. Quotes are from research respondents and names have been changed to protect respondents' privacy.
Helium Mobile is a service provided by Nova Labs, Inc. Helium Mobile makes use of network infrastructure provided by individuals and companies with no relationship to Nova Labs. The network has community-driven governance and is administered by the Helium Foundation. Nova Labs expressly disclaims any representations about service levels, network security, etc., all of which are addressed in the subscription terms and conditions for Nova Labs’ Helium Mobile service.