Crypto Wireless Carrier Helium Mobile will power Solana’s Saga smartphone

Crypto Wireless Carrier Helium Mobile will power Solana’s Saga smartphone

In short

  • The Solana Saga smartphone can be used on the upcoming Helium Mobile network.
  • Helium Mobile pairs the decentralized Helium 5G network with coverage from T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network.

Decentralized, crypto-powered wireless network Helium recently voted in favor move from own platform to Solana, a leading layer-1 blockchain network. Now the alliance will become even stronger, with Helium and Solana bring their respective mobile initiatives together.

At Solana’s Breakpoint conference in Lisbon today, Helium and Solana Labs announced a partnership to bring upcoming Helium Mobile service—a smartphone carrier operated in part by T-Mobile — to Solana’s crypto-centric Saga smartphone. Both are to be launched in early 2023.

The Android-powered Saga phone comes with a free 30-day trial for Helium Mobile in the US, offering unlimited voice and text usage during that period. However, the Saga phone will not be exclusive to Helium Mobile: a Helium representative clarified to Decrypt that Solana Labs’ smartphone can be used with other carriers instead.

Boris Renski, GM for wireless at Nova Labs– the startup that represents the founders of and core contributors to the Helium network – told Decrypt that the partnership is a “natural fit”.

“Not only will this partnership ultimately drive adoption of the Helium network,” he said, “but Saga customers who sign up for Helium Mobile will be able to have a seamless and integrated user experience and can earn crypto rewards for using their mobile service.”

Announced in SeptemberHelium Mobile is the first crypto-powered wireless carrier, created in partnership with the major wireless service, T-Mobile. Helium Mobile gets its coverage from both the decentralized Helium 5G network — with users running their own 5G nodes to share coverage in exchange for crypto tokens — and T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G service.

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Helium’s 5G network is currently expanding just over 6,700 antennas distributed by individual users. It is worth noting that Helium’s developers have clarified that although the network is capable of supporting 5G radios, the early devices available on the market limited to slower 4G LTE.

Nova Labs has said that Helium Mobile will offer plans as cheap as $5 per month. Furthermore, users can choose to earn crypto-tokens by sharing location data with the network, as they will help Helium Mobile stabilize coverage in the process.

Solana’s Saga smartphone was revealed in June and delivers high-end Android hardware at a price of $1,000. It is built around the Solana Mobile Stack, a software suite that enables enhanced mobile Web3 apps, and the phone can be used for crypto payments, like a NFT wallet and more. Pre-orders are open now ahead of the launch in early 2023.

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